Telstra staked a claim to being one of the first operators in the world to deploy standalone (SA) 5G, following a RAN upgrade covering its entire next-generation network.
In a statement, group executive for networks and IT Nikos Katinakis explained Telstra partnered with Ericsson to handle the upgrade, with testing of compatible devices underway and commercial availability expected later in the year.
Ericsson deployed a cloud native 5G core “to handle this” SA traffic, Katinakis said, adding this was an “important step towards unleashing greater capabilities for enterprises and consumers alike”.
The service-based architecture will enable “innovative new services and solutions” to be created and delivered “much quicker than in the past.”
In a related statement, Emilio Romeo, head of Ericsson Australia and New Zealand, explained SA 5G would improve network efficiency and drive new use cases, particularly around Industry 4.0.
Telstra deployed 5G in Gold Coast in 2018 to enable device testing to begin: in July 2019 it conducted an SA 5G call on 3.6GHz spectrum in conjunction with Ericsson as it looked to evolve its next-generation service.
Rival Optus commenced commercial mobile 5G operations in November 2019, six months after Telstra, while Vodafone Hutchison Australia is still in the process of deploying its network, with rollout expected to be accelerated once a merger with TPG Telecom is completed.