Nokia and TPG Telecom launch 5G SA 700MHz network in Australia; 700MHz 5G status report

Nokia and TPG Telecom today announced that they have switched on a live 5G standalone (SA) network in Australia on the 700MHz spectrum band – the first time this has happened in the world. Low band 5G coverage at 700MHz, which is the lowest 5G frequency band deployed in Australia with the largest range, will enable TPG Telecom to provide wide outdoor 5G services, as well as deep indoor 5G coverage in urban and suburban areas to its customers.

Under the partnership, Nokia is supplying equipment from its latest ReefShark based AirScale product range including its unique triple band remote radio unit that supports 700, 850 and 900 MHz bands. The unit also supports 3G, 4G and 5G simultaneously across all TPG Telecom’s low-band frequencies. TPG Telecom’s 5G SA service is now successfully activated in parts of Sydney and this means that the operator’s customers will benefit from having 5G available in more places.

Low band 5G goes further outdoor and deeper into buildings than existing 5G deployments and will allow operators like TPG Telecom to bring 5G to even more customers.  TPG Telecom may be targeting the Internet of Things (IoT) with its 700MHz service, because that frequency provides a broader coverage area.  Australian homes  will contain over 47 million smart devices by 2022, estimates the country’s National Science and Technology Council.

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Other network operators are pursuing 700MHz 5G service.

  • Japan’s KDDI said in March that it is using Samsung equipment operating in the 700MHz spectrum as part of its goal of covering 90% of Japan’s population by early 2022.
  • CBN/China Mobile have put out tender requests bids for 480,397 5G macro base stations in the 700 MHz band. China granted a 5G license for use of the 700 MHz frequency to CBN, the country’s fourth telecoms operator, in June 2019.
  • AT&T’s 5G “low band” network mostly uses 850MHz, but its 700 MHz FirstNet public safety network uses hardware “that can be upgraded to 5G with a simple software release.” AT&T has not publicly announce when that might be done.

The 700MHz spectrum provides “deep indoor penetration, a reliable uplink and large coverage,” notes a Nokia white paper.  700Mhz spectrum was referred to as “beachfront property” in 2007-2008.

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Barry KezikExecutive General Manager Mobile and Fixed Networks at TPG Telecom, said: “We’re excited to be the first network in the world to realize the true potential of low band 5G SA at 700MHz. TPG Telecom’s low band 5G will expand our 5G coverage, supporting our goal of reaching 85% of the population in Australia’s top six cities by the end of the year and changing the way people and things connect to the TPG Telecom 5G network.”

Dr Robert Joyce, Chief Technology Officer at Nokia Oceania, said: “Nokia is proud to support another 5G world first. We have a long-standing partnership with TPG Telecom, and we have jointly developed our unique triple band radio solution specifically for them. Today we get to see the result of that joint effort and collaboration which will deliver premium wide area 5G SA coverage for TPG Telecom and its customers.”

Other 5G networks in Australia: Telstra’s 5G covers 200 towns and cities, and Optus recently announcing it has connected 1 million 5G devices to its network

References:

https://www.nokia.com/about-us/news/releases/2021/07/05/nokia-and-tpg-telecom-launch-worlds-first-live-5g-standalone-700mhz-service-in-australia/

https://www.rrt.lt/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Nokia_5G_Deployment_below_6GHz_White_Paper_EN.pdf

Other Resources:
Activate massive 5G capacity with Nokia AirScale
AirScale baseband | Nokia
AirScale Active Antennas | Nokia
AirScale Radio | Nokia

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