Optus, the second largest mobile operator by connections in Australia, announced plans to roll out 5G technology with a fixed-wireless product in key metro areas by early 2019.
The announcement follows an outdoor trial of 5G New Radio (NR), which achieved peak download speeds of 2Gb/s using a prototype device for a fixed-wireless service in the home and business. The trial, carried out with equipment vendor Huawei, used C-band and mmWave spectrum – both considered to be global pioneer bands for 5G. C-band is within the same spectrum range as Optus’ 3.5GHz holdings, which was earmarked for 5G deployment.
In December 2017, the 3GPP’s highly anticipated 5G NR specifications for non-standalone (NSA) operation were issued, covering fixed and mobile applications as part of 3GPP’s Release 15.
Dennis Wong, MD of networks at Optus, said everyone has heard of concepts including self-driving cars, smart homes, artificial intelligence and virtual reality, however, their full potential requires a fast and reliable network to deliver.
“Seeing 5G data speeds through our trial that are up to 15x faster than current technologies allows us to show the potential of this transformative technology to support a new ecosystem of connected devices in the home, the office, the paddock and in the wider community,” he said.
During the 2018 Commonwealth Games, which take place in Gold Coast in April, Optus will host a 5G technology showcase to give visitors a glimpse of the capabilities of 5G and how they differ from current technologies.
Optus secured a variety of new metropolitan licences in the 2.3GHz and 3.5GHz bands in spectrum auctions in December 2017 to strengthen its spectrum holdings in preparation for 5G rollouts.
The operator, with a 31 per cent share of the country’s mobile connections, said its 4G Plus network covers more than 96.5 per cent of the population.