Telstra's Wi-Fi Pro device will be used to test mmWave 5G networks. The company says that technology will deliver up to eight times the speed of 4G downloads.
Telstra's Wi-Fi Pro device will be used to test mmWave 5G networks. The company says that technology will deliver up to eight times the speed of 4G downloads.

The 47 cities that will have access to ‘supercharged’ 5G

A 'supercharged' version of 5G offering never-before-seen internet download speeds will become available in Australia today but only for users in two parts of the country.

However, another 47 cities and towns will get access to 5G connections by the end of next month as the company rolls out its multimillion-dollar network faster than anticipated.

Australians may be slightly slower to adopt the next-generation mobile technology though, analysts warned, after Apple was tipped to delay the release of a 5G iPhone and fewer consumers reported plans to buy new smartphones due to changing economic conditions.

Telstra's Wi-Fi Pro device will be used to test mmWave 5G networks.
Telstra's Wi-Fi Pro device will be used to test mmWave 5G networks.

Despite the uncertainty, Telstra network engineering executive Channa Seneviratne said 5G technology would become available to millions of Australians sooner than originally anticipated this year, and the company would today (Tues) launch public trials of its 5G evolutionary technology, called mmWave or "millimetre wave".

The mobile network technology could deliver download speeds of up to three gigabits per second - three times as fast as the speediest NBN connection - using high frequencies.

But Mr Seneviratne declined to outline exactly how fast users could expect to download files or stream video using the next-gen network.

"We're not going to quote speeds at this stage," he said.

"We'll start to see download speeds six to eight times the speed of 4G. The 5G network currently offers about twice the speed of 4G."

 

 

The mmWave networks will only be available to Telstra users on the Gold Coast and in Parramatta however, and under scientific licences issued by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

The technology is due to become widely available next year following a government spectrum auction, though Telstra would like to test the technology before that happens.

"We want to get some more temporary licences from the Government. We'd obviously love to get a site working in Melbourne," Mr Seneviratne said.

Telsyte has revised its forecast for 5G adoption in Australia following the global pandemic.
Telsyte has revised its forecast for 5G adoption in Australia following the global pandemic.

Users will also only be able to access the faster speeds using a $599 5G Wi-Fi Pro mobile modem, announced today, that will connect up to 30 devices to the internet at a time.

In addition to the trial networks, Mr Seneviratne said Telstra would roll out 5G access to 47 sites in Australia by end of June, overshooting its goal of 35 cities and towns, and making it available to Australians in more than 700 suburbs.

"With the 'new normal,' and everyone working from home, pushing out into the suburbs has been really important," he said. "This means eight million Australians can now enjoy 5G coverage."

Telstra will start charging some customers an extra $15 a month to access the technology after June.

Telsyte managing director Foad Fadaghi said Australians were keen to adopt 5G technology, and had named it as an important consideration in future smartphone upgrades.

But while 5G hotspot gadgets had been "selling like hot cakes" during the last three months, the research group expected lower 5G phone sales this year due to the economic downturn.

"We've revised down our uptake of 5G in Australia this year," Mr Fadaghi said.

"We anticipate there will be a delay to the iPhone 5G this year, though maybe not by long, and the other reason is a downturn in general consumer spending and economic challenges. The switchover to 5G might happen a little bit more slowly."

Originally published as The 47 cities that will have access to 'supercharged' 5G


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