Telstra’s 5G network is officially live -- but only in a handful of selected areas on the Gold Coast.
The telco announced on Wednesday that it had partially switched on the network, after setting up its 5G Innovation Centre on the Gold Coast earlier this year.
“Today’s switch on demonstrates Telstra’s commitment to mobile leadership in Australia and will support the ongoing testing of next generation mobile technologies in Australian conditions to support the early commercial deployment of 5G mobile services,” said Telstra CEO Andy Penn.
“We have switched on 5G-capable sites on the Gold Coast, which enables us to test 5G pre-commercial devices in real world conditions and use unique innovations like our Connected Car to test our 5G footprint. It also means we can connect compatible commercial 5G devices for customers in 5G areas as they become available.”
The Gold Coast has been a hotbed of 5G innovation in Australia, with Optus showing off its 5G Live demonstration during the Commonwealth Games there earlier this year.
Telstra also created the world’s first precinct of 5G-enabled WiFi hotspots and completed the first end-to-end 5G non-standalone data call inside its Innovation Centre in the Queensland City.
However, Penn specified that the Gold Coast is just the beginning for Telstra’s rollout of the network with plans to activate more than 200 5G-capable sites by the end of the year.
“Over the coming months we will continue expanding our 5G coverage with plans to roll out to more capital cities, regional centres and other high demand areas.”
Penn also explained that investment into Australia’s 5G network was a key component of Telstra’s T22 plans – the strategy announced in June that will see a net reduction of 8,000 staff by 2022.
Telstra has invested $5 billion into mobile over the three years going into 30 June 2019, something Penn believes will help the company lead the Australian market.
“Our T22 strategy will be underpinned by our aim to have the largest, fastest, safest, smartest and most reliable next generation network, and these ongoing investments will ensure we continue to deliver market leading innovation in networks,” Penn said.
“Telstra has a history of innovating and adopting the next generation of wireless technology ahead of the curve. With our mobile network now 5G ready in selected areas, we will continue deploying the technology and developing innovative services and use cases for our customers.”