Australia’s Telstra has announced the switch-on of what it has termed the ‘first precinct of 5G-enabled Wi-Fi hotspots in the world’, in a trial which will allow Gold Coast locals and visitors to enjoy free broadband while the operator evaluates 5G technology. Telstra is reportedly using the connectivity via its recently opened 5G Innovation Centre on the Gold Coast to power a series of Wi-Fi hotspots on Scarborough and Nerang Streets in Southport, as well as a 5G Connected Car.
Despite there being no 5G-compatible smartphones or tablets currently available commercially, Telstra has claimed that by connecting 5G backhaul and infrastructure in the Southport Exchange to a standard Wi-Fi access point, this setup enables people to use the technology on their existing devices. The 5G hotspots will be open to anyone in the area and are free with a download limit of 10GB per day per device.
Commenting on the matter, Telstra’s Group Managing Director, Networks, Mike Wright said: ‘Wi-Fi has limited throughput so a single hotspot alone cannot come close to reaching the limits of 5G at our Innovation Centre. By using multiple hotspots with potentially hundreds of smartphone users served through a single 5G device we are able to get closer to demonstrating 5G in a real-world environment.’
Meanwhile, Telstra is using mmWave spectrum and its 5G Innovation Centre to put a Connected Car on the road with the Intel 5G Automotive Trial Platform. This project will reportedly enable it to start getting ‘real results’ on mobile performance over mmWave and ensuring its 5G network readiness.