The Commonwealth Games, held in the Gold Coast in April 2018, was the first battleground for Australian telco's, who are all racing to claim 5G ascendancy.
Australia's big three telcos are racing to be first across the line with 5G.
- Optus was the official communications provider for the Commonwealth Games, as the telco vowed to "lead the Australian market in 5G technologies."
- Telstra has opened a Gold Coast Innovation Centre and invested $60 million into the Gold Coast infrastructure to trial 5G.
- Vodafone has achieved "the world's first 5G call" in partnership with its hardware partner, Huawei.
Optus win Commonwealth Games spotlight
Optus was the fastest out of the blocks with the announcement it will partner with Cisco as the official Commonwealth Games network sponsor. Spectators at the Games were able to access 5G mobile technology for the first time, allowing them to watch events from every Games venue through an app, share videos of their favourite events and track their friends from their mobile phones.
John Paitaridis, Managing Director Optus Business, said:
“Optus and Cisco have built the infrastructure that Optus will manage so that athletes, officials and spectators, near and far, can share in the excitement of the event.
“The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games will demonstrate what Optus has to offer – including our ability to design, build and operate the leading technology supporting an event on the global stage.
We are proud that the GOLDOC has entrusted Optus to deliver and manage the technology that will deliver the GC2018 to a world-wide audience.”
Optus plans to start rolling out its own 5G network across the country in early 2019 with a fixed wireless product in “key metro areas”.
Telstra talking up 5G innovation
Meanwhile Telstra went all the way to Barcelona to the Mobile World Congress in the last week of February to outline its 5G roadmap.
An important element is the telco's new Innovation Centre on the Gold Coast which " said Telstra chief operations officer, Robyn Denholm.
From our 5G Innovation Centre we will be completing a number of 5G firsts in 2018 to ensure Australia remains at the forefront of mobile technology.
"We will enable technology vendors, developers, start-ups and customers to work with the (5G) technology. Telstra will conduct 5G field trials in the coming months in and around the Gold Coast.
Vodafone plans 5G trials in Europe
Vodafone grabbed the spotlight at last month's MWC by successfully completing the world’s first call using the Non Stand-Alone (NSA) 3GPP 5G new radio (NR) standard and sub6 GHz spectrum.
The telco will focus its trials in Europe where Nokia will provide 5G end-to-end solution to Vodafone Italy in Milan aiming at trialing ultra-fast 5G connectivity to support smart healthcare, emergency services, traffic management and tourism.
Why should we care about 5G?
5G will help deliver the next industrial revolution, unlocking opportunities across industries and markets.
This is the view expressed by Telstra COO, Robyn Denham, at MWC, but it has been echoed across the globe.
The possibilities that will arise with the 'Internet of Things' are only just being articulated by technology companies but there will have far-reaching impacts on our everyday lifestyle. All these advances hinge on the delivery of the 5G network which will deliver:
- Significantly faster data speeds: Currently, 4G networks are capable of achieving peak download speeds of one gigabit per second, though in practice it’s never that fast. With 5G, this would increase to 10Gbps.
- Ultra-low latency: “Latency” refers to the time it takes one device to send a packet of data to another device. Currently with 4G, the latency rate is around 50 milliseconds, but 5G will reduce that to about one millisecond. This will be particularly important for industrial applications and driverless cars.
- A more “connected world”: The Internet of Things (wearables, smart home appliances, connected cars) is expected to grow exponentially over the next 10 years, and it will need a network that can accommodate billions of connected devices. Part of the goal behind 5G is to provide that capacity, and also to be able to assign bandwidth depending on the needs of the application and user.