Telstra grabs early access to 5G spectrum

Posted: 18 December 2018 11:50 am News

The nation's biggest telco is now live in all metropolitan capital cities across Australia with its 5G network, although nobody's got a 5G device yet.

It was only last week that the ACMA announced the results of its auction of 3.6GHz 5G spectrum, with Telstra dropping $386,008,400 for 143 lots of 5G spectrum across the nation. While those licenses don't officially kick in until 2020, the ACMA did note that it was willing to release spectrum to the winning bidders earlier than that as long as it didn't affect other services in a negative way.

Telstra has today announced that it's been granted early access to the 3.6GHz spectrum won in the auction, and that it's using that spectrum already at 187 5G sites across the country, including sites at its offices at 400 George Street in Sydney and at the Telstra Labs at 242 Exhibition Street in Melbourne.

Telstra didn't confirm it, but we'd be very surprised if it didn't also have 5G up and running at its top-secret Sydney labs too.

Now, it's lovely that Telstra's getting its 5G network all lined up, but the practical reality is that you don't have a 5G-ready device to hook into it just yet.

Telstra has shown off its HTC-built HTC 5G Hub, but that's not expected until next year, when we're also very likely to see the first 5G handsets, including possibly a 5G-enabled version of the Samsung Galaxy S10.

However, Telstra's claim is that the implementation of 5G technologies should also boost its 4G network performance for existing devices.

"Today’s announcement means there are now 187 sites around Australia that have been 5G-enabled with another 13 to be upgraded before the end of this calendar year," said Andy Penn, Telstra CEO.

"This series of network upgrades is not only making Telstra’s mobile network 5G ready but is also expected to help deliver world leading 4G speeds," he stated.

Want to know more about 5G in Australia? Check out our dedicated 5G networks page.

Want a new Telstra phone and plan? Check out the latest iPhone XR deals below!

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