Ericsson has announced that customers of Australian mobile network operator (MNO) Telstra will benefit from 5G millimeter wave (mmWave) on the 26GHz spectrum band from mid-2020 in selected areas. In a press release, Ericsson revealed that it has been working ‘in close partnership’ with Telstra to test the technology and prepare the network, and the two companies, along with Qualcomm Technologies were said to have recently successfully tested a live mobile base station in Telstra’s commercial network on the 26GHz band. With Telstra aiming to provide 5G mmWave connectivity on 26GHz to selected customers by mid-2020, it will reportedly do so on a trial basis under special licences which allow pre-auction commercial traffic, and the trials will be supported by the launch of a Telstra-branded mmWave enabled device. Telstra plans to announce the first mmWave trial locations in the coming months, with commercial mmWave 5G then expected to launch in Australia in 2021, following the auction of related spectrum.
Commenting, Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said: ‘Not only will customers be able to enjoy trying out the benefits of mmWave in selected areas early, it means we will be on the front foot when spectrum is made available via the auction in 2021.’ Emilio Romeo, Head of Ericsson Australia and New Zealand, added: ‘This announcement is an important step in realising the benefits of mmWave spectrum for Australia and the world. With 5G live demonstrations on the 26GHz band now underway, this is a significant step in showcasing how mmWave can be scaled and integrated into a commercial mobile network.’
Meanwhile, Telstra and Ericsson claim to have continued to ‘push the boundaries’ in 4G LTE connectivity, announcing successful testing that they suggested could result in cell range capability doubling from 100km to 200km. With the duo having worked on extending the cell range capability reach on Telstra’s commercial LTE network, the milestone was achieved through an Ericsson Radio System software upgrade at a Telstra site in New South Wales. Telstra says the resulting capability could extend 4G cell range beyond the current 3GPP standards limit of 100km up to 200km, and bring benefits for customers in rural, regional and offshore areas. A first commercial deployment is expected ‘later in 2020’ and will be used ‘in specific deployment scenarios’.