A key step in the advancement of 5G global development, Ericsson and Telstra, Australia’s leading mobile network operator, have completed the world’s first 5G data call using 26GHz millimeter-wave (mmWave) spectrum.

Using Telstra’s production core network, this is the first time the 26GHz band has been used in the field. The 26GHz band will feature in leading 5G deployments in Australia, Europe and China, and is similar to the 28GHz band used in the US.

This 5G data call demonstration was the first in what will be a series of trials at a new 5G testing center Telstra has established on the Gold Coast to ensure Australia is at the forefront in the development of the next generation of mobile technology.

Mike Wright, Telstra Group Managing Director, Networks, said the trial importantly shows that the mobile industry is ready to utilize the mmWave band of spectrum, which will be critical for 5G success in Asia-Pacific and Europe.

“5G will mean we can use more and different spectrum bands to deliver faster speeds, more capacity and lower latency to our customers,” Wright says. “This will support a range of different applications, everything from data heavy applications like Ultra High Definition (UHD) video and virtual reality (VR), to highly reliable, low-latency communications for smart cities and autonomous cars.”

Trials of mmWave spectrum are also taking place in many other countries including the United States, Japan and Korea, where 28GHz and 39GHz spectrum bands are being considered for 5G deployments. For mobile networks, mmWave spectrum will be an important capacity layer for both 4G and 5G.

“We will conduct further tests with Ericsson to gain further insights into how mmWave 5G can be scaled and integrated into commercial mobile networks, as well as work with Australian industries to help them unlock future benefits and use cases based on 5G technology,” Wright says.  

Telstra and Ericsson will trial associated 3GPP technologies at the Gold Coast testing center, including Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) antenna with adaptive beamforming and beam tracking techniques and OFDM-based waveforms, to progress and align with the global standards.