Telstra on 5G: “Where Promise Meets Reality” + 3GPP Release 16 status

Fears that 5G use cases do not justify the extensive investments required to roll out the technology are unfounded, and the technology is going to change the world, according to Telstra CEO Andy Penn’s  blog post, published to coincide with the 3GPP meeting this week,. More than 600 delegates from the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) – the body that produces specifications used in “5G” trials/early commercial “5G” deployments, and inputs submissions to ITU-R WP5D for IMT 2020, will be meeting at Australia’s Gold Coast this week.

–>See below for status of 3GPP Release 16 which will be the real deal 5G spec to be submitted as a candidate IMT 2020 Radio Interface Technology (RIT)  to ITU-R WP5D in July 2019.

Penn wrote in the aforementioned blog post:  “Will 5G change the world?” The short answer is absolutely yes. The best way to understand 5G is to realise it is more than just a faster, more efficient technology for mobile phones. What sets 5G apart from every earlier “G” is its ability to carry signals significantly faster. Latency – the time gap between a request for data being sent and the data being received – on 5G is reduced dramatically.

Penn said skepticism about the potential for new mobile technologies has been a common theme with each evolution.  “Before 2G it was hard to conceive of the mobile phone becoming a mass market device owned by billions of people. Before 3G, it was questionable that enough people would want to access the internet on their phones. And before 4G, it was a brave call to suggest enough people wanted access to HD video at all times,” he said.

“But in every one of these occasions the demand not only materialized it did so with remarkable speed and on a remarkable scale. Indeed, each new technology has been embraced more quickly than the last. 4G took just five years to reach 2.5 billion people, compared to eight years for 3G.”

According to some forecasts, 5G will enable $12 trillion in economic output globally and support the creation of 22 million jobs by 2035, Penn said.

He said from Telstra’s perspective the baseline business case for 5G is meeting rapidly growing demand for mobile data traffic and addressing ways to more efficiently meet these demands.

“On top of that we see incredibly exciting opportunities to open up new applications and services delivered over mobile using 5G – everything from IoT on a massive scale, to 4K and 8K video, to mission critical services, to remote robotics will be brought to a whole new level by 5G.”

Penn added that the full range of opportunities that will be enabled by 5G will not be clear when 5G capability is switched on.  He said Telstra is investing heavily in 5G, including through the planned deployment of 200 5G-enabled sites across Australia by the end of the year, out of a belief that first-movers will enjoy the earliest and greatest benefits from adopting the technology.

About the Author:

Andrew Penn became Chief Executive Officer of Telstra on May 1, 2015 after serving as Telstra’s Chief Financial Officer and Group Executive International. Andrew is an experienced senior executive with a career spanning more than 30 years. Prior to joining Telstra, Andrew was with AXA Asia Pacific for 20 years where he held a number of positions including Group Chief Executive (2006-2011), Chief Executive Officer for Australia and New Zealand, Group Chief Financial Officer, Chief Executive for Asia and spent time based in Australia, Hong Kong, Thailand and Indonesia. Under Andrew’s leadership AXA built a successful Asian platform, which was sold to its parent company in 2011 for $10.4bn. In addition to his business activities, Andrew has contributed widely to not-for-profit and community organisations. He is Life Governor and Foundation Board member of Very Special Kids. He is also a member of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Advisory Council, The Big Issue Advisory Group, and an Amy Gillet Foundation Ambassador.


3GPP Release 16, to be completed at the end of 2019, will meet the ITU-R IMT-2020 submission requirements and the time-plan as outlined in RP-172101:

imt timeplan1

From Sep 2018 to June 2019, targeting “Final” submission in June 2019

  • Performance evaluation update by taking into account Rel-16 updates in addition to Rel-15
  • Update description template and compliance template to take into account Rel-16 updates in addition to Rel-15
  • Provide description template, compliance template, and self evaluation results based on Rel-15 and Rel-16 in June 2019.

Some Background on Release 16

5 thoughts on “Telstra on 5G: “Where Promise Meets Reality” + 3GPP Release 16 status

  1. Telstra will need tech skills, agility to win 5G, says Penn

    Telstra chief executive Andy Penn says the telecommunications giant needs to recruit hundreds of software engineers, data scientists and cyber security experts and change how it works to maximise the opportunities from the move to 5G.

    The shift to a faster, higher-capacity network will herald the next battleground in the intensely competitive mobile market that Telstra leads.

    Mr Penn, at Telstra’s annual technology conference Vantage on Wednesday, said previous transitions, from 2G to 3G and then 3G to 4G, threw up challenges the telco had not anticipated. Those challenges were related mostly to the huge amount of data people consumed, given the faster speeds and higher-quality video available to smartphone users.

    Looking ahead, he said he could not predict what new applications will drive even greater demand for data, but having learnt from those experiences, he said Telstra needs to bulk up in certain roles and consider “agile” working practices so it can respond quickly to disruptive threats.

    “[We need to have] the right network architecture … then it’s about building the skills in software engineering, cyber and AI, and all those things because I don’t know what all the applications are going to be, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to need those sorts of skills.

    “It’s also about [rethinking] our ways of working, so introducing things like agile, human-centred design, lean and DevOps. Those methodologies, with those skills, with the platform, puts us in a good position to respond to these sort of events.”

    In the grab for 5G customers Telstra will face stiff competition from Optus and lower-cost operators TPG Telecom and Vodafone, which are pursuing a $15 billion tie-up and revealed on Tuesday they would bid together for 5G spectrum even if the deal were knocked back on competition grounds.

    In June, Mr Penn said Telstra would cut 8000 jobs, equating to about a quarter of its workforce of more than 30,000, as part of its T22 strategy.

    However, the telco is also recruiting 1500 new technology-based roles. At the time Mr Penn told Fairfax Media the staff cuts were the most difficult part of its strategy and “weighed heavily” on him, but they were necessary for growth.

    Mr Penn said Telstra needed to shift its mindset, as much as its technology, away from legacy systems and ways of working so that it could more quickly respond to opportunities and challenges.

    “Trust me that’s never more harder than in an organisation such as Telstra,” he said.

    “Agile and agility is about a mindset and moving to a world where as leaders our job is to paint a vision and not directing work, it’s about removing roadblocks rather than being the one that’s directly causing them at the time, it’s about rewarding collaboration in an organisation, rather than setting up competing business units.

    “It’s also about adopting the concepts of minimum viable products, sprints, agility and getting products to market, trialling … and continuing to iterate. That’s the journey we’re on with the T22 strategy.”

    Telstra attracted more than 6000 people to its two-day Vantage event in Melbourne this year, with more than 130 companies exhibiting in the main hall of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

    A report released at the event revealed the benefits of 5G to Australia’s gross domestic product were up to $2000 per person, or between $32 billion and $50 billion by 2030.

    The telco already has 15 mobile sites enabled for 5G, including the Gold Coast, and is tracking toward 200 by the end of the year.

    Before consumers will be able to use the network, smartphones will need to be 5G enabled. The latest Xs iPhones announced last week will have “Gigabit-class LTE” – an advanced form of the 4G wireless technology the telecommunications providers use to connect mobile devices, which peaks at 1 gigabit per second speeds – but this is not 5G.

    Competition for mobile customers is likely to intensify even further with 5G, with TPG saying on Tuesday that it would bid with Vodafone in November’s 5G spectrum auction even if the competition watchdog blocks the merger.

    But Mr Penn appeared unconcerned about the union of his competitors, saying he respected the businesses but was confident in Telstra’s differentiated strategy.

    “I focus on our strategy and not really what our competitors are doing. I think we have a very clear strategy to continue to invest in the differentiation of Telstra and the Telstra brands be that through network leadership or through some media content deals and the applications we have for customers,” he said.

    The Australian Financial Review

  2. 3GPP Release 16, when completed (early 2020?), will have the ultra low latency included. It is NOT available in any so called “5G” networks till then! So don’t expect ultra low latency on any “5G” smartphone for several years. Note also that 1 way latency is the cumulative delay through: the access network, mobile packet core, and edge network at the service provider point of presence. It is NOT just the access network (e.g. 5G NR transmission).

    Title: Study on physical layer enhancements for NR ultra-reliable and low latency case (URLLC)
    Status: Draft
    Type: Technical specification (TS)
    Initial planned Release: Release 16

    The follow key use cases were identified to be considered:
    – Release 15 enabled use case improvements
    – Such as AR/VR (Entertainment industry)
    – New Release 16 use cases with higher requirements
    – Factory automation
    – Transport Industry, including the remote driving use case
    – Electrical Power Distribution

Comments are closed.