Optus and Telstra go to war over 5G readiness

Optus and Telstra go to war over 5G readiness

Who will be Australia's first telecommunications provider to offer 5G?

Optus has refuted Telstra's claim that it is the first provider in Australia to be 5G ready, after the telecommunications giant revealed on 15 August it had turned on its 5G network in the Gold Coast.

"Optus publicly demonstrated its 5G capability in April at its 5G Live showcase during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games which combined state-of-the-art 5G use cases and 8K video streaming on-the-go on Optus’s live 5G trial indoor and outdoor network, in addition to achieving speeds of 16Gbps," said Dennis Wong, managing director of Optus Networks.

"Furthermore, the lack of commercially available 5G devices means that no network provider can claim leadership at this time."

Wong was referring to a 10-day event where it offered the Australian public its first chance to experience some of the features of 5G: Optus has opened a public 5G demonstration centre.

On 15 August, Telstra Operations executive director, network and infrastructure engineering wrote in a blog post turning the 5G network in the Gold Coast made Telstra Mobile Network the first in Australia to be 5G ready.

Telstra CEO, Andrew Penn, said this was just the beginning of the provider's 5G rollout, with more than 200 5G-capable sites planned to go live around the country by the end of the year.

Penn also added that it will support the ongoing testing of next generation mobile technologies in Australian conditions to support the early commercial deployment of 5G mobile services.

"Today we have switched on 5G-capable sites on the Gold Coast, which enable us to test 5G pre-commercial devices in real world conditions and use unique innovations like our Connected Car to test our 5G footprint," he said.

In March, Telstra had turned on its first precinct of 5G-enabled Wi-Fi hotspots in the Gold Coast allowing free access to locals and visitors while it evaluated 5G technology.

Wong said that Optus is poised to deliver commercial 5G services as soon as January 2019.

"With our substantial spectrum holdings compared to our competitor and our advanced planning, Optus is confident in its ability to deliver commercial 5G services in January 2019," Wong added. "We will update the market on our plans in early September."

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