Australian mobile network operator (MNO) Optus has announced what it termed ‘another significant step towards its commercial launch of 5G’ following its successful completion of a data call using 60MHz of 3.5GHz spectrum. In a press release regarding the development, the cellco revealed that as part of pre-launch testing the call was made from an Optus 5G site in Dickson, Canberra, and utilised a commercial grade 5G radio network and customer premises equipment (CPE) developed in partnership with Nokia. Specifically, the MNO noted that the call was made using the 3GPP Release 15 September specification using a standard commercial chipset.
Commenting, Dennis Wong, Optus’ Managing Director Networks, said: ‘We are on the cusp of delivering this next generation technology into the hands of our customers and hitting this milestone is an important step towards our commercial 5G launch planned for the first half of this year … Using the 5G 3.5GHz band means that we will be able to deliver greater capacity compared to 4G, enabling the use of multiple devices as well ultra-high definition video streaming which is expected to be key for our customers when 5G begins rolling out this year. This is the first time in Australia that a data call has been made using 60MHz channel bandwidth on an Optus live network and a 5G device.’
With Optus expected to begin switching on its 5G network across several capital cities in the first half of this year, the operator’s multi-year 5G network build plan reportedly includes upgrading and adding new mobile sites while densifying the network with innovative small cell solutions which are designed to increase capacity and speed in highly populated inner-city locations.