Telstra begins first 5G wi-fi and connected car trials

By Addie Thomes

The world’s first 5G-powered wi-fi hotspot precinct has been switched on by Telstra on Australia’s Gold Coast.

The firm recently opened a 5G innovation centre on the popular tourist stretch, and it is from here that the trial is being managed, along with tests on a 5G connected car.

Group Managing Director Networks Mike Wright said: “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.

“Taking 5G technology out of a lab and into the hands of consumers is another key milestone on Telstra’s roadmap to offering 5G services in 2019.”

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There are no 5G compatible commercial smartphones or tablets available today. However, by connecting 5G backhaul and infrastructure to a standard wi-fi access point then consumers can use the technology on their existing device. This is what Telstra is trialling on the Gold Coast.

Wright added: “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 are able to get closer to demonstrating 5G in a real-world environment.”

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