How far can a 5G connection go? Telstra’s latest test pushes the range so far, it could hit rural and regional Australia.
If you’re struggling to find a reason to update to a 5G phone, or even a 5G service, the reason could well soon be coming if you need that sense of mobile reliability out in places not normally known for decent reception.
In the five years since 5G arrived in Australia, we’ve seen a lot of phones and a lot more people jumping on the network, but no real reason for using the high-speed technology beyond “it’s there” and “it’s faster”, both of which are totally fine. We haven’t seen a giant connection speed and technology upheaval around 5G yet.
One use, however, might be to extend the range and reliability of a connection to further inland in Australia, as Telstra tests a long-range use for 5G.
Telstra and Ericsson have successfully tested a data call made on a 5G as far as 100 kilometres away from the tower, with the test showing Telstra can deliver 5G in a range of 15km to a maximum of 100km. The test itself achieved a data speed of 89Mbps, which may seem a little slow in comparison to the 700-odd megabits per second you might find on some 5G connections is still quite fast given just how far out the connection went.
There are catches to how this technology and approach works right now, and it needs a clear line-of-site to an antenna where 5G is connected. As such, if there are trees and other vegetation in the way, it won’t work.
Telstra notes that situations catering for the full 100km distance acheived by this test will be limited, but that 5G coverage can now push beyond the 15km mark overall, which means more 5G coverage for Australia is on the cards, and not just in the city.
“We have a responsibility to deliver the very best connectivity to regional customers including the benefits and the experience of 5G,” said Telstra’s Nikos Katinakis.
“We’re working hard and making sure we invest in the world’s best technology to make sure all Australians have access to the largest and most reliable network now and in the future,” he said.
“This world first achievement is just one of the ways we are committed to improving coverage over time.”
As to when Australians outside the city can expect 5G connections utilising this technology, Telstra says it’s coming after more testing, with selective deployments in the field starting “later this year”.