Telstra says it has reached another milestone in its march towards 5G, the next generation of mobile technology.
The telco has completed what it called Australia’s first 5G to 5G video call between Sydney and the Gold Coast. The call was completed last week in conjunction with the telco’s network technology partners Ericsson and Qualcomm and demonstrated again today in what the company described as real world conditions.
“The Australian first commercial 5G video call shows just how close to reality 5G is — and how close we are to having our network ready for the first commercial 5G devices to go on sale in early 2019,” said Telstra Networks and IT executive Nikos Katinakis in a company blog post.
The telco also showed off a new ZTE prototype rectangular smartphone device capable of making 5G calls as well as a 5G mobile hotspot prototype with US company Inseego.
Telstra is leading the charge in terms of ushering in 5G technology in Australia. Today it also demonstrated a 5G Hub mobile device built in collaboration with HTC, which it said will be one of the first commercial 5G devices available for Telstra customers in 2019.
Telstra demonstrated its new 5G advancements to media this morning ahead of announcing an update to its 5G strategy this afternoon in a presentation to investors.
“This 5G to 5G video call demonstrates the importance of Telstra’s strategic relationship with our global industry partners. We are at the cutting edge of technology, and day by day we are making significant progress on our road map to bring 5G to our customers,” Telstra CEO Andy Penn said in a statement.
“The video call closely follows our enabling of Australia’s first live 5G connection using a commercial 5G chipset over licensed spectrum on Telstra’s mobile network a fortnight ago,” he added.
The company also announced today a second generation Nighthawk M2 Mobile Router capable of reaching speeds of up to 2Gbps giving users a mobile hotspot capable of supplying super high speeds over 4G.
Telstra says that about 130 of its mobile base stations across the country have been upgraded with 5G technology, and 70 more will be made 5G ready before the end of the year.
The industry has high hopes for the next generation of mobile technology, expecting it to unlock a raft of new consumer and business applications that telcos will be able to cash in on.
THE PROMISE OF A 5G FUTURE
The jump from 2G to 3G took us beyond just call and text and enabled the data consumption on smartphones we now take for granted, although at the time it was unclear as to why that was such a worthwhile idea.
Due to the explosion of data with the rise of data-hungry apps and HD mobile streaming on 4G networks, the same debate hasn’t existed around the need for 5G. Adoption of mobile tech has also been increasing — it took 4G just five years to reach 2.5 billion people, compared to eight years for 3G.
Speaking to news.com.au in September, Telstra boss Andy Penn said the boost in capacity is expected to pave the way for a host of applications — some of which have not yet been thought of.
“Firstly, we’ve got 10 times the capacity for a lower cost per bit of data. It’s going to enable more media and better quality media,” he said.
“The second thing is it’s faster and dramatically reduces latency. So for things that require that really quick response time like robotics, autonomous driving or even in consumer gaming, that’s where the latency is going to become important.”
When 5G rolls out in earnest along with 5G compatible smartphones sometime late next year, consumers will be able to enjoy super fast downloads, high quality streaming and gaming, and advancements in emerging trends like augmented reality. 5G will also underpin advances in robotics and be vital for autonomous vehicles.