Telstra claims to reinforce 5G leadership, investing $277 million to secure 1000 MHz nationally in 26 GHz spectrum auction

Telstra has announced it has secured 1000 MHz in the 26 GHz spectrum auction, investing $277 million to further extend its leadership in 5G now – and into the future. 

Claiming two thirds of where Australians work, live and travel through are now covered by existing 5G coverage, Telstra has now secured 5G mmWave spectrum.

Telstra says the spectrum has been secured “in all major capital cities and regional areas where it was sold”, and this can be verified by looking at the full list of spectrum winners in ACMA’s report.

Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said the new mmWave spectrum would dramatically increase capacity and speeds for Telstra customers, building on the already superior 5G experience Telstra provides across the country.

Penn said: “High speed connectivity is critical to Australia’s future prosperity and our aspirations to be a world leading digital economy. It has become central to all of our lives – the way we live, work, keep ourselves entertained and stay connected, and more and more 5G will be at the heart of that.

“Telstra is already leading the way in 5G, and this investment of $277 million in highly sought after spectrum will help us broaden and deepen our 5G connectivity for more Australians across the country.

“mmWave spectrum is especially good at providing high-speed mobile broadband in high-density areas, such as built up cities and towns, train stations, sport stadiums and other locations with a high concentration of people using their mobile devices.

“Imagine watching the Grand Final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, with your 5G-powered augmented reality goggles overlaying real time player stats, all at the same time as thousands of others are enjoying the game alongside you – that’s the immense bandwidth and speed that mmWave can offer.

“Telstra has been testing mmWave at a number of sites for some time, achieving a record peak download speed of 5 Gbps in a test earlier this year. We launched our first mmWave-compatible device in May 2020 and we are working closely with global device manufacturers to bring more mmWave capable devices to market this calendar year.”

Penn said the additional capacity would also enable the mobile network to be used more effectively for 5G broadband in the home, providing another way to deliver fast and reliable internet where the current fixed connection may not meet a customer’s needs.

“We’re delighted with the outcome of the auction and while the licenses won’t come into effect until around the middle of the year, the ACMA is making available early access licensing which will allow us to use the spectrum even sooner,” Penn added.

Telstra’s 5G technology now covers almost two-thirds of the Australian population and is on track to reach 75% by the end of June 2021.

There are now more than 3,200 Telstra 5G sites on-air in more than 160 cities and towns, and 5G coverage is available in more than 2,450 suburbs across the country.

Telstra says it “intends to pay for the spectrum in five equal annual instalments.”

Finally, it’s important to note that mmWave 5G is the version of 5G that can really deliver ultra fast speeds, with Verizon in the US able to offer an app with five live streams of the same football match at different angles, so people at home, or in the stadiums, or anywhere they get 5G mmWave connectivity, can enjoy true digital multimedia.

An advertisement featuring Chris Rock explaining the benefits of mmWave 5G (which Verizon called Ultra Wideband) with an iPhone 12 on the US Verizon network is embedded below, which shows the 5 live streams scenario. Australians will be able to do the same things with mmWave 5G, so if you haven’t seen the ad, take a look below!

It’s also important to note that the iPhone 12 in Australia doesn’t support mmWave spectrum as yet, we’ll presumably have to wait for the iPhone 13 later this year for Australian iPhones to support mmWave.



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