Australia’s largest mobile operator Telstra will partner with Sweden’s Ericsson to run a so-called 5G demo in September.

The operator will be the first in Australia to trial Ericsson’s 5G radio test bed, said Mike Wright, Telstra’s group MD for networks.

The trial will test the expected high speeds and ultra-low latency of 5G, as well as multi-user MIMO (multiple input multiple output), which makes use of multiple antennas to carry data to improve the performance. The demo will also test beam steering technology, which optimises the mobile signal to each user with less interference and better network performance and more capacity, he said.

Of course, 5G technology is very much work in progress; a first phase official standard isn’t expected to be ratified by the 3GPP until 2018, with commercial networks launched from 2020. But Telstra is attempting to stay ahead of the development game with its early moves, and joins operators such as AT&T, Docomo, KT and Verizon in pushing pre-standard trial work.

Training in Sweden
Telstra announced in February it sent employees to Ericsson’s 5G research centre in Sweden for training and to develop 5G radio channel models. The operator said it has conducted 5G radio tests at Ericsson’s 5G experience centre that achieved download speeds of greater than 20Gb/s.

“We have started the process of modernising our wireless core network in preparation for 5G with network function virtualisation (NFV) and software defined networking (SDN) technologies. This allows us to support increased network configuration and deployment flexibility to different market segments, and to tailor their wireless connectivity through a concept called Network Slicing,” Wright said.

Earlier this year the operator announced plans to deploy a 5G trial on the Gold Coast in 2018.

Last December Telstra and Ericsson demoed 4×4 MIMO, supporting peak downlink data speeds of up to 380Mb/s.