Telstra, in partnership with Ericsson, has tested one of the world’s first 5G radio test beds in Melbourne.
The tests proved that 5G will be significantly faster than current mobile networks.
Total download speeds (to two mobiles) were greater than 20Gbps – which is 200 times faster than the maximum speed of the NBN.
The test bed used 800MHz of spectrum in a previously unattainable, high frequency band, which is 10 times more spectrum than is used in the company’s 4G service.
“[This] is very impressive in a real world, outdoor environment”, said Mike Wright, Telstra’s group managing director of networks.
“Australia’s environment, size, and population density is unique, and it means we need to consider different things to other countries. We’re even trying to understand how radio signals propagate in through gumtrees.”
Telstra also tested beam steering, which is a technology that allows an antenna array to track a user’s location and direct a mobile signal directly to their device rather than sending it out in all directions or to a particular sector (as in current technology).
Based on previous tests, latency (the time it takes to send a signal to the mobile, to the network and back again) will be significantly lower with 5G.
“Lower latency is going to be crucial for supporting IoT, as well as virtual and augmented reality,” said Wright.
Telstra expects 5G technology to be commercially available in 2020.