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5G gains momentum in 2018

The Government is clearly focussed on progressing its 5G agenda in 2018 with the inaugural meeting of the 5G working group convened by the Department of Communications held on 8 February. The working group determined that transport, agriculture and health should be priorities for a targeted collaboration between industry associations and government departments to ensure that regulatory barriers are identified and removed to enable a smooth 5G deployment across Australia.

AMTA is confident that the working group’s priorities will add momentum to AMTA’s ongoing efforts to engage with industry verticals and the respective government departments outside of the communications portfolio with regard to the broader economic and social benefits of 5G.

AMTA members have been preparing for and trialling 5G technology since 2016 and some are now announcing plans to launch 5G services as early as 2019.

Optus has announced its intention to commence the roll out of 5G technology in Australia by early 2019 with a fixed wireless product in key metro areas. This announcement follows a successful outdoor trial for 5G New Radio, where Optus, working with its partner, Huawei, demonstrated 2Gbps download speeds using a potential device for a fixed wireless service in the home and business

Optus is also planning to showcase 5G technology at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games:

“From being able to play sports real-time in virtual reality; to competing against machines in games, and to remotely controlling robots’ movements these use cases will provide a small glimpse into the capabilities of 5G and how it differs from current technologies.”

Telstra is also planning for an early deployment of commercial 5G services and has opened a 5G Innovation Centre at its Southport Exchange on the Gold Coast where it will test next generation mobile technologies. The Centre is designed to support collaboration between vendors, developers, businesses and customers.

The Gold Coast will also be the location for a meeting of the 3GPP - the international standard setting organisation - in September 2018 where global standards for 5G will be further considered.

Telstra’s Chief Operations Officer, Robyn Denholm explained that Telstra’s objective in opening the Centre is to ensure Australians have early access to 5G technology:

“Telstra has already conducted Australia’s first 5G field trial and the world’s first 5G outdoor data call over 26GHz ‘mmWave’ radiofrequency spectrum.  From our new 5G Innovation Centre we will be completing a number of 5G firsts in 2018 to ensure Australia remains at the forefront of mobile technology.”

Meanwhile in the USA, the FCC has called for the following steps to be taken to encourage the acceleration of 5G deployment across the country:

  1. “Simplify and accelerate the review process for installing 5G equipment on light poles, street lights and rights-of-way.
  2. Free up more airwaves from different "spectrum bands" that operators can cobble together to create more 5G capacity.
  3. Reduce regulation (like net neutrality rules) that, he says, reduces private investment in network deployment.”

And the Winter Olympics Korea have provided a platform for the demonstration of 5G video streaming capabilities on the world stage.

16 Feb 2018


AMTA welcomes deployment regulation amendments

The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) welcomes the announcement today from the Minister for Communications and the Arts, Mitch Fifield, regarding the progression of 10 reforms to the regulations governing the deployment of wireless and mobile networks in Australia; as well as further consultation on 11 other proposed reforms. In welcoming the announcement, AMTA Chief Executive, Chris Althaus noted the Government’s reform package will go some way towards enabling the deployment of the next generation 5G mobile networks which are expected to bring significant improvements in speed, quality and capacity for Australia’s data hungry consumers.  But he also noted there was still more to do. “This is a welcome and very important first step - in what we hope will be an ongoing engagement with government and stakeholders to develop a dynamic regulatory framework to meet the deployment challenges of next generation networks.


Final NTP results cannot confirm mobile phone cause cancer in humans

The long awaited final results of the decade-spanning US National Toxicology Program on radiofrequency energy exposure has found no consistent effects in male and female mice and rats exposed to mobile phone signals for their whole life (2 years). However, in a sub-section of the study, researchers found that at the highest doses for the longest periods of time, cellphone radiation might cause a rare cancer in male rats. “High exposure to radiofrequency radiation (RFR) in rodents resulted in tumours in tissues surrounding nerves in the hearts of male rats, but not female rats or any mice, according to draft studies from the National Toxicology Program (NTP),” said a press release from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences where the program is headquartered.

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AMTA Annual Report 2017

In 2017, the strong demand for mobile services continues to have an impact on our economy and society as the industry shifts its focus in preparation for 5G, the next generation of mobile technology. AMTA’s latest Annual Report includes the following highlights: As industry prepares for 5G the need for regulatory reform in spectrum management and network infrastructure deployment is increasingly urgent. 5G Mobile – Enabling Businesses and Economic Growth Report by Deloitte Access Economics found that 5G is expected to further drive Australia’s digital economy. It will add to the already significant (and growing) $34 billion in long-term productivity benefits from mobile; and annual network spend from mobile providers is expected to reach $5.7 billion in FY2017-18. The MCF has focused on an agenda of legislative reform to support the efficient and flexible deployment of network infrastructure.


How will 5G improve network performance

While the technical standards for 5G are still being developed, experts agree that 5G will offer: Latency of less than 1ms; Ability to deliver speeds of up to 10 Gbps and beyond; Energy efficiency in running 1000s of devices; and Improved network capacity by enabling millions of low bandwidth devices to connect simultaneously. Where 4G focussed on providing improved speed and capacity for individual mobile phone users, 5G will enable more industrial applications, and could be a major technological driver in industrial digitalisation. For more information about 5G read our latest report from Deloitte Access Economics. Download the complete report.