Telstra opens 5G Wi-Fi centre on Gold Coast

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Telstra customers on the Gold Coast will be the first in Australia to test the telco’s new 5G capabilities.

Australia’s biggest telco says its 5G-enabled Wi-Fi hotpots are a world first, launched just in time for the Commonwealth Games, which main rival Optus is a main sponsor of.

Telstra, which typically provides the widest service area within Australia, has its sights set on rolling out 5G services widely across the country in 2019.

“We have said we intend to lead on 5G and, with these 5G-enabled Wi-Fi hotspots, Australian consumers will be among the first people in the world to try the technology,” said Telstra’s Managing Director of Networks, Mike Wright.

“Taking 5G technology out of a lab and into the hands of consumers is another key milestone.”

As there are no 5G-enabled consumer devices available, Telstra will connect 5G backhaul and infrastructure from an exchange to a Wi-Fi access point at its Innovation Centre on the Gold Coast, so it can be used on existing 4G devices.

“Wi-Fi has limited throughput, so a single hotspot alone cannot come close to reaching the limits of 5G at our Innovation Centre. By using multiple hotspots with potentially hundreds of smartphone users served through a single 5G device, we’re able to get closer to demonstrating 5G in a real world environment,” said Mr Wright.

The 5G hotspots will be available to the public along Scarborough and Nerang Streets in Southport, which are powered by the 5G Innovation Centre, located in the Southport Exchange, so visitors for the Commonwealth Games can also test the new technology.

The technology will be free to use, with a 10GB data download limit per device per day, as Telstra will monitor usage and speed before its intended rollout in 2019.

How will 5G benefit me?

With most of the country currently on 3G or 4G, 5G will be the next step in improving Australian’s network capabilities, as well as its speed. With Australia’s internet connection speed currently lower than countries such as Estonia and Kenya – according to a recent Akamai State of the Internet Report – and with the ongoing NBN struggles, 5G may be the savior consumers have been waiting for.

5G boasts a possible internet speed of up to 5Gbps, with the current speed of 4G usually falling below 1Gbps. That means consumers would be able to download or stream movies and TV shows with little concern, a huge plus as more consumers turn to streaming services such as Netflix and Stan.

With the technology still in its early development phase, and many telco providers deciding to go with either the 5G capabilities or the NBN, consumers may have to wait a little while longer before the days of buffering are over.

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