One of the most talked-about concepts in the mobile industry right now has to be the upcoming 5G network. Telstra have also made frequent headlines with their drive to roll out 5G services to their customers ahead of the competition.
While it is understood that the company would want to beat their competitors, there are grounds for concern, as the Australia government is yet to roll out regulatory models to guide the 5G network practices.
The Quest for Dominance
Australia has many companies that are looking to become the pioneer in releasing 5G networks to their customers. While they have the desire to beat their competition in mind, all of these companies also have to consider another aspect – the safety of their investments.
In the Australian market where the final 15 standards for the 5G network are yet to be released, companies tend to tread carefully when talking about roll-out dates, and what they will be able to offer once 5G does become publically available.
However, Telstra does not appear to be holding back.
As of now, the mobile telecommunications company has secured 15 different towers which have all been equipped to broadcast 5G networks. The company has already switched its mobile communications in the Gold Coast to a full 5G network, even though devices are not yet available in those regions to support the development. At the end of 2018, 200 stations will have gone live.
An early start like this means Telstra gets to put a foot in the door and provide the infrastructure to usher in investors interested in the 5G network. Phone and related network-based device manufacturers will have a conducive environment to test their products and have it available on the 5G network within a much shorter timeframe.
For Telstra customers, that also means they become some of the first people in the world to get access to this network. However, the rush to offer 5G could cause companies to brush over security concerns, making the network less safe for customers.
What Could Go Wrong
There is no doubt that Telstra is a leader in 5G technology, even on a global scale. When considering the timelines however, it might not be worth it in the end.
Telstra is able to operate its 5G network on the 3.4GHz band. However, they will only be able to get the best experience out of the new 5G connection if they can run it on the 3.6GHz network instead. Telstra now have to wait for an auction in November to get a license. This would be the same time when every other vendor will be competing for the same network.
It is obvious at this point that phones with 5G capabilities will not become available until the beginning of 2019, at the very earliest. That somewhat negates the efforts of Telstra to be leaders in the industry when every other telco would most likely have caught up to them by the time commercial availability kicks in.
Significance Of 5G Development
Whether Telstra gains from the push to stay in front or it all amounts to little in the way of returns is yet to be determined. However, the applicability of the new 5G network to different industries is inarguable.
With the leap from 2G to 3G came added capabilities for mobile phones and internet-enabled devices. We moved from the age of texting and calling, to being able to see each other over the phone.
4G networks came into the loop and Wi-Fi calling became the norm. That was in line with even faster connections, higher transfer speeds and seamless interactions with other units in an internet space. With 5G, the possibilities seem endless.
The benefits transcend the basic user into the realm of industries. Andy Penn, the current CEO of Telstra, cited the case of a farmer who was already integrating sensor systems that would help manage his farming even better. With the application of 5G to the agricultural industry, such services will be able to collect and process data even faster. Such are the promises held by 5G networks, industry wide.
Offering ten times the capacity we have around today and promising to cost less per unit of data, 5G is a development to look forward to. Which telco claims the title of “first to deploy commercial 5G in Australia” – and whether that ultimately even matters – will be seen in time.