Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Telstra, Optus, Vodafone nab mmWave for next wave of 5G

The growth of 5G is pretty huge, and you can find it in more places now than a few years back, but it’s about to get even better.

There’s a new wave of 5G coming, and it’s set to offer faster mobile connections, even faster than the speeds currently achievable on 5G.

It’s called “mmWave”, and it’s basically a spectrum for mobile communications that offers lots of capacity to make mobile speeds even more impressive. In Australia, mmWave uses the 26GHz spectrum, with a capability of delivering speeds higher than 20Gbps, much more than the 2 to 3 of the current 5G technology Sub-6.

While this might just be a bunch of jargon, the technology will mean 5G can hit more of its true potential, with faster mobile speeds on offer from the various telcos.

Of course, before they get there, the telcos need access to the spectrum, and have been waiting for the government to auction it off for them to use. Even though mmWave is working in other places around the world — evident because you can find mmWave 5G iPhone 12 models and there’s an upcoming 5G mmWave iPad Pro that’s only available in America at the moment — the Australian auction of spectrum will mean the technology is launching locally, as well.

And this week, it happened: the spectrum went to auction, and every major telco scored some.

Telstra announced it’s spending $277 million to secure 1000MHz of the spectrum to get 5G faster, with the result being what Telstra says is more than ten times its existing dedicated 5G spectrum bandwidth.

And it’s not alone.

Optus spent $226.2 million to nab 800MHz in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, and regional Australia, while also getting 600MHz in Margaret River and Hobart.

Alongside Optus and Telstra, Vodafone announced it’s spending $108.2 million to nab 400MHz of the spectrum in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth, while Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra and regional areas of Australia will have 600MHz.

The spectrum add may seem like a technical thing — and it is — but it will give the telcos the ability to make 5G even stronger, and deliver more potential for mobile communications.

“We understand how important our role is in connecting people. What is truly exciting about this spectrum is the ability to really deliver on the future potential of 5G and ultra-fast speeds,” said Lambo Kanagaratnam, Managing Director of Optus Networks.

“Imagine you are at a major sporting event or concert with tens of thousands of connected spectators enjoying HD content or video – streamed to your device or an AR/VR/XR headset – and viewing real time stats and updates, profiles and video without interruption or lag. Or enjoying connectivity at home in a multi-dwelling high-rise apartment tower close to the CBD wirelessly and at scale. This is what this spectrum technology allows,” he said.

“For enterprise, this spectrum could support remote controlled automation for example robotics in a warehouse or factory, or the creation of a secured private network at a university campus to support thousands of students and academics. In short, we are armed with the ability to build and expand our 5G network and deliver on the future of 5G in the home, office or on-the-go.”

The technology isn’t essentially ready for people yet, but it is coming, and you can probably expect to see telcos launching support for mmWave 5G in the very near future.

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