Optus has announced its intention to commence the roll out of 5G technology in Australia by early 2019 with a fixed wireless product in key metro areas.
This announcement follows the launch of a successful outdoor trial for 5G New Radio, which showed 2Gbps download speeds using a potential device for a fixed wireless service in the home and business.
Optus Managing Director of Networks Dennis Wong said, “People have been hearing about 5G for some time, and there is pent up expectation, but to date a lot of the talk has been highly theoretical.
“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. 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 eco-system of connected devices in the home, the office, the paddock and in the wider community.
“This is a technology and future we at Optus are extremely passionate about. This successful trial is a historical milestone in Optus’ journey to 5G.
“When developing and testing new technologies, end customer experience remains our top priority. By successfully testing commercial grade customer equipment, we’re able to pave the way for Optus to begin testing 5G technologies from a consumer perspective. We continue to be involved in the fine tuning of the customer equipment with our partner – Huawei, to ensure that the equipment meets the standards as they are being endorsed,” said Mr Wong.
Throughout the trial, both C-band and mmWave were incorporated as these are considered to be global pioneer bands for 5G, delivering the low latency and extreme speeds associated with 5G. C-band is within the same spectrum range of Optus’ 3.5GHz, which has been earmarked for 5G deployment.
“As we continue to develop Optus 5G technologies and prepare for deployment in 2019, it is also important to ensure people understand the capabilities it can offer, and how it is able to benefit their day-to-day lives” said Mr Wong.
5G Technology Showcase
During the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Optus will be hosting a 5G technology showcase, allowing visitors to Broadbeach the ability to experience what 5G will have to offer.
From being able to play sports real-time in virtual reality; to competing against machines in games, and to remotely controlling robots’ movements these use cases will provide a small glimpse into the capabilities of 5G and how it differs from current technologies.
Path towards 5G
Optus has been working towards the delivery of 5G technology since 2016, focusing on taking key technological evolutionary steps and working with global partners to ensure the correct foundations have been put in place for eventual roll out.
Throughout 2017, Optus achieved several key milestones, including the launch of 4.5G technology and a world-first trial of 3CC CA Massive MIMO technologies.
Additionally, Optus secured a variety of new metropolitan licences for its customers in the 2300 MHz and 3500 MHz spectrum bands during recent Spectrum Auctions, further strengthening its spectrum holdings in the relevant fields for 5G technologies.
“Now 3GPP has finalised most parts of the world-wide standardisation of 5G technologies, Optus can increase momentum and throughout 2018, Optus is going to lead the Australian market in the development and deployment of pre-5G and 5G technologies,” said Mr Wong.
The Optus superfast 4G Plus network covers more than 96.5% of the population.
In 2017, Optus announced a $1 billion commitment to extend and improve coverage across regional Australia. Optus was also named ‘Best in Test’ in the 2017 P3 connect Mobile Benchmark Australian test.
 Completed at its headquarters in Macquarie Park, Sydney in January 2018, the trial used dual-band 5G New Radio equipment and commercial grade Customer Premises Equipment(s) (CPEs) for both C-band and Millimetre Wave (mmWave) band.
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. The trial achieved 2Gbps on the commercial grade CPE.