Vodafone set to trial 5G this year

Alex Kidman 25 August 2016

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Vodafone Australia has announced it will begin 5G tests, with plans to offer services by 2020.

Vodafone has signalled that it’s gearing up significantly to deliver 5G services to Australia by the end of the decade, with trials set to commence by the end of this year, and plans to deliver a 5G network for customers by 2020. At this stage, however, it’s essentially research into what its 5G network will be.

In the UK, the Vodafone group has partnered with Huawei, Nokia, Ericsson, Intel and Qualcomm Technologies for the purposes of helping to define industry standards and prepare the way for the transition to 5G, so it’s likely that some or all of those companies will be part of Vodafone Australia’s trials here too, especially as Huawei has been closely involved the build of Vodafone Australia's expanding 4G network.

Telco rival Telstra has already announced its own 5G trials which include 5G trials at the next Commonwealth Games in Brisbane in 2018.

What is 5G?

5G is, as the name suggests, the next generation of mobile connectivity technology, with a broad focus that encompasses not only faster upload and download speeds (as you might expect), but also addressing issues such as improved network latency and the number of devices connected to a single network. That’s important for the emerging market of what’s called the "Internet of Things" (IoT), interconnected network devices such as smart sensors designed to interoperate and share data for automation and tracking purposes.

Will I need a new 5G phone?

While 5G is the accepted industry nomenclature for the next generation of mobile networks, we’re still years way from standards even being formalised, which means that actual 5G devices that you could use for accessing such networks are even further away. In the meantime it’s expected that work on 4G devices will continue to see improvements in speed and connectivity.

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