Optus to launch 5G fixed wireless service in 2019

Announcement follows trial that delivered 2Gpbs speeds using the next-generation wireless standard

Optus managing director for networks, Dennis Wong, with the 5G fixed wireless device used in the telco’s 5G New Radio trial

Optus managing director for networks, Dennis Wong, with the 5G fixed wireless device used in the telco’s 5G New Radio trial

Credit: Optus

Optus will launch a 5G fixed wireless service in early 2019, the telco announced today.

The launch of the service in “key metro areas” will be the beginning of the telco’s rollout of technology based on the new wireless standard and follows a trial last month of 5G New Radio at Optus’ Macquarie Park HQ that delivered speeds of up to 2 gigabits per second.

The trial used C-band and mmWave spectrum and was conducted with commercial grade customer equipment, Optus said.

The rollout of 5G had originally been expected to take place in 2020, but standards organisation 3GPP last year signed off on an accelerated roadmap that laid the basis for deployments beginning in 2019.

3GPP endorsed an interim standard — Non-Standalone 5G NR (New Radio) — that envisaged the deployment of 5G equipment on 4G networks. Non-Standalone 5G NR will be followed by Standalone 5G NR, which will be based on 5G core networks.

“Seeing 5G data speeds through our trial that are up to 15x faster than current technologies allows us to show the potential of this transformative technology to support a new ecosystem of connected devices in the home, the office, the paddock and in the wider community,” Optus managing director of networks, Dennis Wong, said in a statement.

“As we continue to develop Optus 5G technologies and prepare for deployment in 2019, it is also important to ensure people understand the capabilities it can offer, and how it is able to benefit their day-to-day lives” Wong said.

Early last year Optus announced it had begun upgrading its mobile network to ‘4.5G’ — LTE-Advanced Pro — following a 2016 trial. The telco also revealed details of its trial of massive MIMO, a component of 5G.

Optus’ rivals have also been engaged in a steady march towards 5G.

Late last year Telstra and Ericsson conducted what the companies said was a world first: A trial data call over spectrum in the 26GHz (mmWave) band.

In September, Vodafone detailed conducted a field demo of MIMO using a Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) band which it described as a “significant step towards 5G.” 

The federal government last year detailed its strategy to facilitate the rollout of 5G.

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