Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) has made building the foundation for a 5G network a priority this year and is targeting commercial launch in 2020.

VHA CEO Inaki Berroeta told the Sydney Morning Herald: “I think that by 2020 we will have 5G in Australia. We’re aiming for that.”

Berroeta noted that by 2018 the country’s national broadband network will reach almost 10 million households, which will be a milestone and a turning point for the company as the network will have scale across the country.

The country’s third largest mobile operator, with an 18 per cent share of total connections, forged an AUD1 billion ($700 million) deal with leading ISP TPG Telecom in September to connect 3,000 towers via TPG’s unused optic-fibre infrastructure.

The operator said at the time it was prepping its network to be 5G-ready.

The 15-year agreement will cover a total of about 4,000km of fibre. VHA already uses 900km of TPG’s fibre to connect its sites.

Berroeta said accessing the fibre backhaul will mean higher performance for customers and a 5G-ready network that will enable future opportunities such as virtual and augmented reality applications, PC World Australia reported.

Despite VHA’s ambitions, it is not yet known exactly what 5G is, or when it will become an official tech standard. Other Asian operators such as NTT Docomo are eyeing a similar timeframe for launch.