Australia’s Telstra starts ‘world’s first’ public 5G trial
AUSTRALIAN telecommunications provider Telstra on Tuesday said it has turned on the first precinct of 5G-enabled Wi-Fi hotspots in the world.
The trial allows locals and foreigners in Gold Coast to enjoy free broadband while Telstra evaluates 5G technology, ahead of the 2018 commonwealth games.
In a statement, Telstra’s Group Managing Director Networks Mike Wright said Telstra is using the connectivity via its recently opened 5G Innovation Centre on the Gold Coast to power a series of Wi-Fi hotspots on Scarborough and Nerang Streets in Southport.
The project will also see a trial being conducted on a 5G Connected Car.
“We have said we intend to lead on 5G and with these 5G-enabled Wi-Fi hotspots Australian consumers will be among the first people in the world to try the technology,” Wright said.
“Taking 5G technology out of a lab and into the hands of consumers is another key milestone on Telstra’s roadmap to offering 5G services in 2019.”
Currently, all commercial smartphones and tablets in the market today do not support 5G but the connection to its backhaul and infrastructure to a standard Wi-Fi access point allows people to use the technology on their existing device.
The company said using Wi-Fi access as part of its 5G technical program is an innovative way to show the benefits of 5G capability in real-world conditions. The 5G hotspots, Wright said, will be open to anyone in the area and are free with a download limit of 10 GB per day per device.
“Wi-Fi has limited throughput so a single hotspot alone cannot come close to reaching the limits of 5G at our Innovation Centre. By using multiple hotspots with potentially hundreds of smartphone users served through a single 5G device we are able to get closer to demonstrating 5G in a real-world environment,” Wright said.
“Our 5G backhaul is capable of delivering download speeds of more than 3 Gbps, which is capable of supporting around 1,000 HD movies being streamed simultaneously.”
By deploying the mmWave spectrum and its 5G Innovation Centre to put a Connected Car on the road with the Intel 5G Automotive Trial Platform, the company said this would be one of the most advanced 5G prototype devices available in the world today.
“Working with global technology companies Ericsson and Intel, we have put Australia’s first 5G Connected Car on the road. We are in the very early stages of development and are achieving download speeds approaching 1 Gbps inside the car and the vehicle is also equipped with a Wi-Fi access point,” Wright said.
“This shows how quickly the technology is evolving. At the start of the year, our 5G prototype device was the size of a bar fridge and weighed more than 200 kilograms. Now, in collaboration with Intel and Ericsson, we have one that has been shrunk down to the size of a personal computer and can be installed in a car.”