Australian operator Optus turned on a standalone (SA) 5G network using multiple bands to conduct limited trials for retail customers using the Oppo X3 Pro handset.

Optus stated its first customers are connected to its SA network, which uses the 3.5GHz, 2.3GHz and 2.1GHz bands.

Lambo Kanagaratnam, VP of networks, said the end-to-end service trials will provide real-world evidence of the capabilities of SA 5G.

“As it matures, 5G standalone is going to play a critical role in enabling a multitude of use cases thanks to its incredible responsiveness and bandwidth.”

Kanagaratnam said it expects a strong increase in 5G network coverage as it builds its SA network using Ericsson and Nokia equipment.

It is in the process of deploying Ericsson’s SA core network, with plans for a full commercial launch in 2022.

The operator achieved peak download speeds of 4.5GB/s in a live commercial network environment using newly acquired mmWave spectrum in July. It turned on its first 5G 26GHz sites in three cities in May.

Rival TPG Telecom partnered with Nokia to launch a SA 5G network on the 700MHz band, while Telstra worked with Ericsson to upgrade its next-generation network with SA using the 3.6GHz band.