Telstra takes step towards 5G core network

Makes 5G Standalone call at Gold Coast Innovation Centre

Telstra has made an end-to-end 5G Standalone call, the telco has revealed.

Although both Telstra and Optus began this year offering services based on 5G, those services still rely on 4G/LTE infrastructure for key functions.

Standards body 3GPP in 2017 released Non-Standalone 5G NR (New Radio): Effectively a transitional standard that involves the use of 5G equipment on 4G network.

NSA 5G services still use LTE for functions such as call origination and termination. Standalone 5G NR will ditch LTE for signalling between an end-user’s device and a base station, and will employ a 5G core network.

The 5G standalone call, detailed today by Telstra and its network partner Ericsson, was made at the telco’s 5G Innovation Centre on the Gold Cost and used spectrum in the 3.6GHz band.

Telstra in 2018 spent $386 million acquiring licences for 3.6GHz spectrum, which it has used to deliver its first wave of 5G services. In December the company said it had enabled 5G in parts of all of Australia’s major cities.

The telco says it offers 5G coverage in 10 cities, and intends to expand it to at least another 25 over the next 12 months.

“Telstra has achieved a number of world and Australian milestones on our 5G journey and the successful completion of Australia’s first 5G end-to-end standalone call on Telstra’s network is the latest entry,” said Telstra’s networks chief Channa Seneviratne.

“This continues Telstra’s ongoing participation in global 5G leadership whilst simultaneously driving the deployment of 5G in Australia.”

“The 5G standalone call – as demonstrated at our 5G Innovation Centre last week – is the first step in moving towards a 5G core which will bring flexible network architecture and even lower latency,” Seneviratne wrote in a blog entry.

“These enhancements will open up more use cases and opportunities in the future such as industrial automation and control and provide the enablement of new services and applications that we haven’t even thought of yet.”

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