Telstra Launches 5G Enabled WiFi Hotspots without 5G Devices; 5G Connected Car Up Next

Australia’s Telstra has launched what it says are the first “5G-enabled” Wi-Fi hotspots in the world.   The new hotspots on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia will provide locals and visitors with access to free broadband services during the evaluation period.  While there are no 5G-enabled consumer devices available at this time, the Australian telco will connect 5G backhaul and infrastructure from an exchange to a Wi-Fi access point, so it can be used on existing 4G devices.

The open hotspots will provide up to 10GB of downloads per device per day. They will be managed by Telstra’s recently-launched 5G innovation center on the Gold Coast.  Telstra has connected 5G backhaul and related infrastructure in the Southport Exchange in the city to allow connections to the 5G network over Wi-Fi on existing devices.

“Wi-Fi has limited throughput so a single hotspot alone cannot come close to reaching the limits of 5G at our Innovation Center,” Telstra group managing director for networks Mike Wright said. “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. Our 5G backhaul is capable of delivering download speeds of more than 3 Gbps,” he added.

Telstra is also using mmWave spectrum and its 5G innovation centre to put a connected car on the road using Intel’s 5G automotive trial platform.

“Working with global technology companies Ericsson and Intel, we have put Australia’s first 5G connected car on the road. We are in the very early stages of development and are achieving download speeds approaching 1 Gbps inside the car and the vehicle is also equipped with a Wi-Fi access point,” Wright said.

The executive also highlighted the evolution of the telco’s 5G prototype during the first months of the year. “At the start of the year our 5G prototype device was the size of a bar fridge and weighed more than 200 kilograms.  Now, in collaboration with Intel and Ericsson, we have one that has been shrunk down to the size of a personal computer and can be installed in a car.”

The 5G center is central to a $58 million investment Telstra has made to upgrade infrastructure on the Gold Coast to support growing demand and major events in the area. Telstra will run extensive 5G trials on the Gold Coast during the Commonwealth Games in April this year.

Telstra previously said that said that it would work with Ericsson on key 5G technologies including massive multiple-input, multiple-output (Massive MIMO), adaptive beamforming and beam tracking, and OFDM-based waveforms in its Gold Coast center.



Telstra will have competition. Australian telecom operator Optus said it plans to roll out a fixed-wireless 5G service in key metro areas by early 2019. The announcement comes after the launch of an outdoor trial of 5G New Radio (NR), which showed 2Gbps download speeds for a fixed wireless service in homes and businesses, the Singtel subsidiary said.

The trial, conducted at its headquarters in Macquarie Park in Sydney in January, used dual-band 5G NR equipment and commercial grade CPEs for both C-band and millimeter wave band frequencies. C-band is within the same spectrum range of Optus’ 3.5GHz, which has been earmarked for 5G deployment, the operator said. The mmWave band 5G network has the capability to reach peak data speeds of 15Gbps to a single user, which is 15x what 4.5G is capable of today.

“Everyone has heard of concepts like self-driving cars, smart homes, AI and virtual reality however their full potential will require a fast and reliable network to deliver,” said Optus managing director of networks Dennis Wong.

“Seeing 5G data speeds through our trial that are up to 15x faster than current technologies allows us to show the potential of this transformative technology to support a new ecosystem of connected devices in the home, the office, the paddock and in the wider community.”

Optus will also be hosting a 5G technology showcase during the 2018 Commonwealth Games, which will be held on the Gold Coast in Queensland from April 4 to 15 (this week and next).



4 thoughts on “Telstra Launches 5G Enabled WiFi Hotspots without 5G Devices; 5G Connected Car Up Next

  1. Does anyone seriously believe that these premature Telco operator 5G rollout will be successful? Note that they are all proprietary which means no vendor interoperability!

  2. mm-wave for Fixed Broadband Access and Wireless Backhaul:

    The spectrum for “5G” mm-wave is absolutely vendor specific.
    3GPP Rel 15 Phase 1 defines bands at 24.25 to 52.6 GHz, but these have no ITU allocation for harmonized mobile use yet, and won’t for several years.

    Verizon’s “5G” V5GTF spec is proprietary, and defines operation in the 28 GHz and 39 GHz bands it owns in the U.S.

  3. From the ACCC Report- April 2018
    Wireless and 5G:
    5G deployment could create significant opportunities for industry and consumers. However, at this early
    stage, there is still uncertainty about the nature and timing of the deployment but it is anticipated that
    5G has the potential to accelerate the extent of fixed to wireless broadband substitution given its ability
    to provide comparable speeds to fixed broadband services. In doing so, existing business models may
    be disrupted, with the degree of substitution in part depending on the price and service performance of
    NBN services.
    Future substitution will also depend on the nature of wireless service offerings from providers, which
    are not yet evident. Although the amount of data included for wireless offerings has been growing, in
    general, it is still typically less than 200 GB per month, while recent trends mean that most fixed line
    services now include unlimited data. If this divergence between data quotas continues in the future, it
    may limit the substitutability of wireless for fixed line broadband for most consumers.

  4. Another Australian carrier Optus demos 5G during Commonwealth Games:
    Australian network operator Optus is using the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast to showcase 5G use cases including 8K video streaming on its live 5G trial network.

    The showcase aims to provide visitors with a hands-on 5G experience in advance of a planned initial commercial rollout in 2019.

    The showcase will be open for the duration of the Games, which ends on Sunday. It includes demonstrations of technologies including a 5G and motion detection controlled robotic arm as well as a game of rock paper scissors with a robotic hand using the high speeds and low latency of 5G and machine learning to predict the player’s moves.

    Optus is also showcasing demonstrations of VR football, cycling and driving and 360 degree video streaming from the games themselves.

    Meanwhile Optus has demonstrated 8K video streaming in motion through a 5G van equipped with an 8K television and a prototype 5G device.

    “What we have here today is a spectacular simultaneous demonstration of 5G capability, powered by a live 5G network, rather than through simulations,” Optus managing director of networks Dennis Wong said.

    “For people to be able to walk off the street and interact with real 5G technology is an incredibly exciting development as we continue towards leading in the delivery of the first phase of 5G technology in 2019.”

    Optus subsidiary Optus Business was selected along with Cisco, to build the network for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. The company is providing free Wi-Fi services for 6,600 athletes as part of the contract.

    Rival Telstra recently launched 5G-enabled Wi-Fi hotspots on the Gold Coast as part of the 5G trials from its newly launched 5G innovation center in the city.

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