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Optus hooks up with Oppo for 5G Augmented Reality Call


Optus has placed a 5G AR call between Australia and Singapore for the first time.

Much of the conversation around 5G networks has focused on the incredible data speed potential of 5G, but it's also a technology that can make plain old telephone calls. Or, in the case of Optus, rather more complex ones, with the company announcing it has placed a 5G AR call between its Australian and Singaporean test sites.

If you're wondering what a "5G AR" call might be, it's a video call at its core – something a decent 4G network should be capable of – but with real-time annotations made and viewable by both sides of the call.

Optus says it's done so using a not-yet-named Oppo handset, which does rather signal one direction that Optus could go in bringing 5G handsets to the market.

That may well be a play more towards the Singapore market. Optus' parent company Singtel is Singapore-based, and in Australia, Optus' first 5G service will be a 5G fixed home broadband service, which it intends to launch by mid-2019 in selected areas.

The mystery Oppo phone – almost certainly a working prototype device – was using Qualcomm's X50 5G modem on both sides of the call. Qualcomm this week announced the X50's successor, the Qualcomm X55, but it's not expected we'll see any handsets with that modem until 2020.

Still, it also points to Optus moving beyond 5G as a broadband service. It's been a notable week for 5G handsets, with Telstra announcing its exclusive deal for the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, which it will offer to consumers as a free replacement if they sign up for a Samsung Galaxy S10+.

It's expected we'll see a whole host of 5G handset announcements at Mobile World Congress next week.

For more news from MWC 2019, check out our MWC 2019 news hub.

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