Telstra gets ready to put 5G in your pocket

Telco conducts live 5G data call with commercial chipset in a portable device

The form factor device used for the call is around the size of an iPad Mini, albeit slightly thicker.

The form factor device used for the call is around the size of an iPad Mini, albeit slightly thicker.

Credit: Telstra

Telstra has successfully conducted a live 5G data call using a commercial chipset on the telco’s network.

Although the form factor device used for it the test is a chunkier than most mobile handsets, it bears a far closer resemblance to a commercially available smartphone than the 200kg, fridge-like prototype 5G device that Telstra was employing for tests just months ago.

The device was fitted with a Qualcomm Technologies Snapdragon chipset. The call relied on Ericsson’s 5G network software and Telstra’s commercial 3.5GHz spectrum.

“Telstra’s strategic relationship with these global industry partners allows Telstra to test, understand and demonstrate real world 5G capability so we can advance the deployment of 5G and immediately bring it to our customers as soon as devices are commercially available,” said Telstra’s network engineering executive, Channa Seneviratne.

“Today’s announcement is a significant milestone as it signals that commercial 5G devices are getting closer and closer.”

Telstra’s 5G Innovation Centre on the Gold Coast has played host to this and many of the company’s other 5G trials, although Telstra is also testing the next-generation wireless standard in regional areas.

“Field testing in our real-world mobile network with this chipset over our commercial spectrum moves the verification well and truly from the lab into the street,” Seneviratne said. “The team will continue testing over the coming months to improve data rates and overall performance in readiness for device availability.”

Telstra’s chief executive, Andy Penn, has said that he expects the transition from 4G to 5G to be even swifter than the migration from 3G to 4G.

In July this year Telstra said that it had successfully conducted a 5G data call over its network using Intel’s 5G Mobile Trial Platform.

In August the company announced that it had started progressively declaring its mobile sites ‘5G-ready’ — a move that rival telco Optus dismissed as a marketing stunt.

The Australian Communication and Media Authority is currently auctioning off spectrum in the 3.6GHz band, which will play a key role in early 5G services.

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