Telstra has switched on what it says is the first precinct of 5G-enabled Wi-Fi hot spots in the world.
The telco announced today that it would use the technology to offer free broadband on the Gold Coast, which is hosting the Commonwealth Games.
The service is underpinned by the ‘5G Innovation Centre’ launched by the telco earlier this year. Telstra plans to launch 5G services in 2019.
“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,” Telstra group managing director, networks, Mike 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.”
The service uses 5G infrastructure and backhaul at Telstra’s Southport Exchange.
“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.
The telco earlier this year demonstrated download speeds of up to 3.1 gigabits per second at the Innovation Centre.
Telstra said it would also be using a connected car to demonstrate the potential of 5G.
“Working with global technology companies Ericsson and Intel, we have put Australia’s first 5G Connected Car on the road,” Wright said.
“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,”
The federal government is preparing to later this year auction off spectrum in the 3.6GHz band, which is a key band for early 5G deployments.