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Vodafone Australia announces 5G trials for 2016

Vodafone Australia will be conducting demonstrations of 5G on its network in the second half of 2016, CEO Inaki Berroeta has announced, with the Internet of Things (IoT) a major driver of investing in the technology.

The 5G trials will be conducted in Vodafone’s lab, according to VHA general manager for Access Network Delivery Kevin Millroy, who is filling the role of chief technology officer after Benoit Hanssen announced his departure to join the mobile telecommunications provider’s half owner Hutchison.

“We’re going to get our first glimpse of this toward the back end of this year,” Millroy told media on Wednesday morning.

“We’re working with a number of our partners at the moment, so there’s not going to be any announcement as to who we’re working with, but it will be our first opportunity to see and experience what a customer will get with a 5G offering, but it will be the first glimpse of it. The actual network will not be there until 2020.”

Hanssen, who departs Vodafone next Tuesday, added that Vodafone will be one of the first to launch a 5G standardised offering.

“Our industry depends on standards and standardisation, so for us in Australia I think we’ll be very early out with a standardised 5G offering,” Hanssen said.

Berroeta outlined the importance of IoT to Vodafone’s offerings worldwide, with a trial in narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) also on the telco’s agenda.

“At the end of this year, Kevin will be demonstrating a 5G demo on our network. We will also be looking into narrowband IoT; IoT’s an important part of our business and an important part of Vodafone business worldwide,” Berroeta said.

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