With the Australian telco claiming to have delivered 5G to a third of the population already, it has just under a year to hit the 75% milestone.
As with all of these statements from telecoms operators, handfuls of salt is required. Population coverage means just that, and it is always worth remembering some 87% of the Australian population live in urban centres. Expanding this coverage to the rural areas is much more difficult.
You also have to wonder what spectrum is being used to drive this expanded coverage. Telstra makes use of the 3.5-3.6 GHz mid-band assets but announced last year it was 900 MHz and 850 MHz bands that would power the expansion of 5G. Delivering the promised download speeds of 5G over these airwaves is going to be an interesting play for Telstra.
It is always worth bearing in mind that there is usually a catch to these exceptional claims, though Telstra should be applauded for progress, nonetheless.
“No technology will do more to shape the 2020s than 5G – the fifth generation of mobile communications technology,” said CEO Andrew Penn.
“5G will revolutionise connectivity in Australia at a time when connected technologies have never been more important. Linking up with friends and family, work, school and accessing services has all had to be done digitally during COVID-19 and our recovery will depend on accelerating the digital economy.”
What is also worth noting is Telstra has been running mmWave trials in the 26 GHz airwaves with Ericsson and Qualcomm. There is a spectrum auction planned for the high-band spectrum next year, and should these assets be used appropriately, boosts can be offered in some of the more challenging areas, high-traffic transit locations or sporting venues for example.