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Telstra will have Australia’s first 5G mobile phones

Posted: 10 January 2019 1:50 pm

At CES 2019, Telstra's CEO dubbed 2019 the "year of 5G".

Telstra's push into 5G continues, with Australia's largest telco announcing at CES 2019 that it has developed agreements with "some of the world's biggest vendors" for the telco to exclusively deliver 5G smartphones before "any other Australian mobile operator".

This means that, when 5G-ready devices launch in the first half of 2019, Telstra customers will have exclusive access to the technology. It's important to note that Telstra has not announced any exclusivity window, so we don't know how long Telstra customers will have special access to the newest 5G devices.

Telstra said that it was unable to disclose its "exclusive smartphone partners". It seems safe to assume that Samsung, which announced that a 5G handset would be available in the first half of 2019 at its CES press conference, will be involved. LG has also talked up its 5G plans.

Telstra had more than 200 5G base stations enabled by the end of 2018, meaning that users at the forefront of the technology release will be able to utilise the next generation network as soon as devices become available.

Telstra CEO Andy Penn said that the 5G network will be capable of "much faster downloads, high resolution video streaming with less buffering and mobile gaming on the go".

Keeping the focus on consumers, Penn said Telstra was "committed to ensuring our customers get the best technology and deals", and said that the company was holding discussions with "a number of device manufacturers", presumably on the future of the 5G rollout and device availability.

Telstra recently announced that Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson would be its key 5G partner for the rollout of the network which will have cost the company "around $8 billion" over five years on 30 June 2019. Telstra is touting the network advancements as a way of enhancing the "capacity, capability and reach" of its network.

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