Telstra has completed tests of 5G offered via 850MHz spectrum that it has repurposed from its 3G network and now says the new technology is ‘ready for commercial use’, according to iTnews. The carrier had previously said that declining traffic on its 3G network – which is due to be switched off in mid-2024 – meant that some of the spectrum used for the older infrastructure could be ‘repurposed … for more efficient and higher value 5G services while still maintaining [its] 3G services in operation’. As such, with the cellco understood to have started testing the use of 850MHz frequencies for 5G in November 2020, these tests are now said to have been completed. On the back of this development, Telstra said that parts of its network will be able to support ‘a 5G data session over distances exceeding 80km’ thanks to the use of the repurposed 850MHz spectrum. Meanwhile, the mobile network operator (MNO) confirmed the activation of around 1,200 sites to offer 5G connectivity using 850MHz spectrum.
Commenting on the matter, the MNO’s technology development and solutions executive Channa Seneviratne said: ‘The addition of low band 5G to our network is going to offer greater depth to our 5G coverage and help us bring 5G to some hard to reach places – another part of our drive to make 5G accessible to as many Australians as possible.’
In a separate blog post, meanwhile, Telstra confirmed that it had recently switched on its 3,000th 5G site and has achieved more than 50% population coverage, while also claiming it is ‘already well on [its] way’ to reaching a self-set 75% coverage target by June 2021.