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Optus makes its first 5G data call

In partnership with Nokia
Dennis Wong (Optus)

Dennis Wong (Optus)

Optus has made its first 5G data call in Australia using 60 MHz using 3.5 GHz spectrum, in what it has called a "significant step towards its commercial launch of 5G".

The call was made using a commercial grade 5G Radio Network and customer premises equipment (CPE) developed in partnership with Nokia from an Optus 5G site in Dickson, Canberra.

According to Optus managing director for networks Dennis Wong, this was an important step towards Optus' commercial 5G launch, planned for the first half of 2019.

“Using the 5G 3.5 GHz 60 MHz band means that we will be able to deliver greater capacity compared to 4G, enabling the use of multiple devices as well ultra-high definition video streaming which is expected to be key for our customers when 5G begins rolling out this year," Wong said.

"This is the first time in Australia that a data call has been made using 60 MHz channel bandwidth on an Optus live network and a 5G device.”

The indoor Nokia 5G CPE used has a high gain antenna expected to deliver 5G connections in residential areas, according to Optus.

The call was made using the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Release 15 specification using a standard commercial chipset.

In July 2018, Telstra made its first end-to-end 5G non-standalone 3GPP data call over a commercial mobile network.

As previously reported, this took place at Telstra’s 5G Innovation Centre on the Gold Coast, with Ericsson, Telstra and Intel claiming it was the first of its kind made over the 3.5GHz spectrum.

When Optus is ready to switch on its 5G network, the CPE developed with Nokia is set to facilitate a 5G fixed wireless access experience for Australian consumers.

“Our fixed wireless access product, combined with our ambitious roll out plan, means customers will be able to experience 5G soon," said Wong.

Optus plans to upgrade and add new mobile sites as part of its 5G network build plan.

Only last week, Telstra announced a exclusive deal with the "world's biggest brands" of smartphone makers to deliver exclusive access to 5G commercial smartphones in the first half of 2019.

CEO Andy Penn said that customers in Australia would soon "exclusive access to 5G enabled devices", however he did not specify who the smartphones vendors are.