Australian operators Telstra, Optus expand their 5G networks

Source: European 5G Observatory

Telstra officially launched its 5G service on the 3.6 GHz band at the end of May 2019 after switching on over 200 5G sites progressively since August 2018. The 5G service was initially available in over 10 cities, including parts of Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, Launceston, Toowoomba, and the Gold Coast.

Twenty-five additional cities were expected to be covered before end-June 2020 comprising most major regional cities in Australia. However, the operator announced it was ahead of its target and 5G services were now available in 47 cities across the country.

Telstra added it has seen a massive expansion in the number of potential customers, growing from 4 to 8 million. Swedish vendor Ericsson has announced collaboration agreements with the operator to provide 5G equipment and upgrade Telstra’s network.

The Australian operator previously acquired spectrum in the 3.6 GHz auction for AUD 386 million, giving it 60 MHz of contiguous 5G spectrum in all major capital cities and between 40 MHz and 80 MHz in regional areas.

Rival mobile network operator Optus announced the commercial launch of 5G mobile and 5G residential fixed broadband services covering selected areas in November 2019. 290 5G network sites went live and 1,200 sites were planned by March 2020. Recently, the company announced that by the end of May 2020 customers in parts of the western Sydney suburbs of Bonnyrigg and Minchinbury, Niagara Park on the NSW Central Coast, Cook in the ACT and the Brisbane suburb of Kenmore will be able to order 5G services. The telecoms operator is using equipment from both Ericsson and Nokia in its rollout of 5G.

Optus secured spectrum in the 3.6 GHz spectrum auction for AUD 185 million in late 2018.

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