Australia's third 5G network: Who is under action?

In the coming times, 5G is going to transform the way people live and work. In Australia, Telstra was the first company to launch first 5G commercial device connection.

Earlier in July 2019, Ericsson and Telstra completed the first 5G end-to-end standalone call in Australia. Telstra, during May 2019, announced the launch of Australia’s first 5G mobile devices.

The introduction of 5G in Australia will provide Aussies with better performance in crowded places, faster speeds, less latency.

The second Australian company to launch 5G was Optus. Optus is the subsidiary company of Singtel which launched commercial 5G in Australia. It launched mobile ‘on the go’ as well as 5G in the home offerings & was live with 5G sites throughout major cities in the country.

After Telstra and Optus, Vodafone has become the third company in Australia to launch 5G network. Vodafone Hutchison Australia has signed an agreement with Nokia to build the third 5G network in Australia.

Vodafone is going to rollout its network in the first half of 2020. Vodafone has entered into a partnership with Nokia to deliver 5G network. Vodafone’s Chief Executive Officer, Iñaki Berroeta considers this partnership as an exciting milestone in the company’s 5G network rollout.

Recently, Vodafone along with Nokia performed the first public 5G demonstration to analyse the business plans and strategies for the upcoming period, and the trial confirmed that 5G would have data speed along with the low latency.

The data speed demonstration witnessed 5G-powered OZO 360-degree virtual reality camera stream 4K video content of Nokia to a 42-inch display which showed the broadcast of 8 simultaneous flows of VR content & at the same time attained throughput of ~ 1.5 Gbps and probable speed of 4.5 Gbps.

The pace attained in the demonstration would make it possible to download a Blu-ray 4K video within 1 minute and 30 seconds. The videos in 1080p format can be downloaded within 20 seconds.

The other application showed low latency utilizing robotic arms that were tested to maintain the ball stable on moving platform based on an instantaneous camera feed. Initially, the robots were unsuccessful in the challenge when they obtained video data through 4G at a latency of 50ms. However, in the 2nd try, the robots were able to succeed when the data speeds were shifted to low latency 5G having a latency of just 3ms.

The demonstration shed light on the beginning of the possible opportunities in the upcoming period when it is made available.

Vodafone Hutchison has signed a 5 years agreement with Nokia. Now, the company’s 5G network will not be including any Huawei equipment. It will switch from Huawei to Nokia kit, and the radio access networks would stay separate & standalone.

The announcement related to the rollout of the 5G network came to the market before the decision from the Federal Court related to the Vodafone & TPG merger worth $15 million that was blocked by ACCC during May 2019 on the grounds that the merger will result in reducing the competition in the mobile market.

Because of this, Vodafone was lagging behind its competitor Telstra and Optus. Vodafone also got a setback from the Federal Court decision to ban telecommunication companies with the usage of devices from Huawei in 5G networks.

Vodafone was the heavy user of the Huawei devices, but with the ban of using the devices, Vodafone had a choice between Nokia and Ericsson. The ban of Huawei devices resulted in TPG to terminate creation of its incomplete 4G network as there was no scope for upgrading to 5G unless the Huawei devices get replaced. Similarly, Vodafone will also have to replace all the Huawei equipment with new Nokia equipment.

Vodafone’s deal with Nokia will provide Vodafone with the flexibility to either scale up or scale down the speed of the 5G rollout as per the needs. Nokia’s 5G devices are compatible with all spectrum bands in 4G and will have massive MIMO antennas that can increase the capacity and performance.

Government Initiative for 5G in Australia

With the advantages of 5G services to the users, there also comes a threat with respect to the safety of the 5G network. In this regard, Federal communications minister Paul Fletcher has announced a $9 million in funding over a period of 4 years to assure the public regarding 5G safety.

The government will also address misrepresentation about electromagnetic energy (EME) emissions that has become a reason of concern among the people. The government is going to participate in additional scientific research as well as more public education to develop its present EME safety program.


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