Telstra opts for HTC to build its first 5G device

Alex Kidman 6 December 2018 NEWS

Fans of really fast wireless broadband should be able to buy the HTC 5G Hub in the first half of 2019.

With both Telstra and Optus set to launch their respective 5G networks in early 2019, time is fast running out for actual devices to start appearing.

Telstra has today revealed its first 5G device, a standalone modem/hotspot device, built by Taiwanese manufacturer HTC. Telstra has already stated that it intends to launch its fixed 5G services before launching mobile devices, and while it hasn't stated it outright, it seems likely that this will be its launch of a fixed 5G broadband device.

The HTC 5G Hub (who thinks of all these fancy names?) is a standalone device that Telstra says will be its first commercial 5G device, "subject to further testing".

When will I be able to buy the HTC 5G Hub?

Telstra's announcement of the HTC 5G Hub states simply that it expects it to go on sale in the first half of 2019. That could mean January, but we'd put money on it being later than that.

How much will the HTC 5G Hub cost?

Telstra hasn't announced pricing for the HTC 5G Hub, but as a premium hotspot device on a network that sells itself as a premium experience, it probably won't be cheap. That being said, we expect it will mostly be sold on a contract basis along with a fixed 5G broadband service, rather than on an outright basis.

How much will Telstra's 5G broadband plans cost?

Again, Telstra's playing its cards close to its chest here. While 5G does have business applications for low-latency IoT devices, this is a straight data play, and as such, we'd expect relatively similar pricing to its current Telstra Mobile Broadband plans.

Will the HTC 5G Hub only work in 5G areas?

Telstra hasn't released a whole lot of technical detail around the HTC 5G hub, but it's extremely unlikely it won't have 4G fallback features as part of its offering. It is likely that the HTC 5G Hub will be locked to the Telstra network, however.

Why isn't it a full 5G mobile phone?

Largely because nobody's properly unveiled one of those just yet! Telstra has shown off a ZTE prototype 5G phone alongside the HTC 5G Hub, but it's not committing to bringing that to market. Motorola does sell a 5G Moto Mod in the US, but that's for the implementation that US carriers are using, not the way 5G is being rolled out in Australia.

It's being heavily rumoured that Samsung might make the Samsung Galaxy S10 in a 5G-capable variant, and there are a slew of other manufacturers working feverishly towards 5G mobile devices.

You can find more about the state of play for 5G networks, devices and plans over at our 5G hub page.

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