Australia’s 4G networks are only getting faster. But it’s the future beyond 4G that equally concerns Telstra, so it’s playing an active role in ensuring that the next big leap forward in mobile networking is one that suits Australia and Telstra’s Australian customers — and it’s spending money to do so.
Telstra is set to be a key player in the shaping of the 5G network standard — to the point that it’s even sending over senior engineering staff to the Ericsson research lab in Sweden to collaborate and collect data on which 5G radio spectra would be best for Australia’s vast geography and unique network layout, with our city/country split necessitating both extremely high-bandwidth networks that also need to travel a very long distance.
With that secondment of staff, Telstra will learn how 5G’s extremely high frequency spectrum will be best applied to Australia, and will bring that data home to study. 5G allows for hugely improved network speeds over 4G — where 4G is currently on the cusp of breaking the 1000Mbps barrier, 5G will allow for speeds of upwards of 10Gbps — over 10 times faster — using millimetre-wave frequencies. Telstra has demonstrated 5G speeds of 11Gbps in trials in Ericsson’s Swedish labs.
Telstra’s chief executive office Andy Penn is a member of the GSMA board that runs Mobile World Congress, and sees his and Telstra’s role — which is more formative than competitors Optus and Vodafone in terms of 5G partnerships and development — as positioning the company well to take advantage of the technology it’s shaping with partners like Ericsson. “We play a very active role, with chipset manufacturers and handset manufacturers.