Telstra demonstrated Gigabit LTE, a technology expected to support 5G use cases for the next five years, ahead of its commercial launch in Australia next month.

At an event in Sydney held in partnership with Ericsson, Netgear and Qualcomm, the companies vaunted the abilities of the technology and outlined its potential uses in VR, AR, connected vehicles and as an enabler for growing use of mobile video services.

The partners said Gigabit LTE will support the development of a variety of technologies, most of which will eventually be supported by 5G.

Speaking at the event, Mike Wright, group MD of Networks at Telstra said: “The exciting thing about Gigabit LTE is we’re talking about the fastest connected device in the world on the fastest network. Gigabit LTE gives us a window into what 5G may look like, we can get out, experiment and build that base [of use cases] up.”

Emilio Romeo, Ericsson’s head of Australia and New Zealand added: “By 2022 there will be 550 million 5G subscriptions and 10 per cent of the world’s population will be covered by 5G. That’s really exciting, but for the next five years and beyond Gigabit LTE will have to do the job.”

In a joint statement, the companies explained Gigabit LTE is enabled by features of LTE-Advanced technology, including 4×4 multiple-input multiple output (MIMO), three-carrier aggregation (3CA) and 256QAM. The trial used Netgear’s Nighthawk M1 router (pictured) equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X16 LTE modem to deliver download speeds of 1GB/s and upload rates of 150 Mb/s.

Despite the planned launch next month, handsets supporting the speeds are unlikely to be available before the second half of 2017 due to reported delays in shipment of Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 835 chipset.

The higher data rates enable bandwidth intensive applications including video upload and streaming, the partners said. Romeo said the amount of time the average Australian mobile user spends watching video on their smartphones has almost doubled since 2011, while viewing time on all mobile devices in the country had risen by an average of 3.3 hours per user per week.