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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

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UK funds 5G pilot programs

The UK is moving ahead with the roll-out of 5G technologies and application with an announcement that the UK Government will fund six 5G pilot programs across the country to the value of £25m.

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Mobiles, lightning risks and other myths

Mobile phones do not have any characteristics which would make them attractive to lightning strikes. While it is sensible to avoid using a fixed- line (copper wire) phone during a thunderstorm; the same precaution does not apply to mobile phones or fibre optic cable (e.g. NBN).

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Interference to mobile networks - Buyer Beware!

Interference to the mobile network can cause calls to drop out, data speeds to drop and impact on network performance. In the worst case, it can prevent someone else from making a call to Triple Zero in an emergency. The ACMA has now made available a consumer factsheet on interference that explains some of the common causes of interference and what you should do if you are contacted by a mobile network operator about interference to their network.