Telstra and Ericsson achieve 5G mmWave and 4G LTE breakthroughs

Customers of Australian communications service provider Telstra will benefit from Ericsson-enabled 5G millimeter wave (mmWave) on the 26GHz spectrum band from mid-2020 in selected areas. The partners also continue to push the boundaries in 4G LTE connectivity, with successful testing that could result in cell range capability doubling from 100km to 200km - opening up new possibilities in rural mobile broadband coverage.

5G 4G Networks  

Ericsson tower in Australia.

Commercial mmWave 5G is expected to launch in Australia in 2021 following the auction of related spectrum. Ericsson and Telstra have been working in close partnership to test the technology and prepare the network.

Ericsson is already partnering with Telstra in its existing commercial 5G network, operating on 3.5GHz mid-band spectrum. Roll out is underway in 32 cities with Telstra targeting 35 cities by mid-2020.

SUPERCHARGING 5G

Telstra CEO Andrew Penn says 5G on mmWave – the highest spectrum bands – will supercharge the technology with even faster speeds and lower latency. Penn says that more than 4 million Australians already pass through Telstra’s 5G footprint and can access its benefits on any given day.

Ericsson, Telstra and Qualcomm Technologies recently successfully tested a live mobile base station in Telstra’s commercial network on the 26GHz band.

The landmark achievement is part of Telstra’s ambition to provide 5G mmWave connectivity on 26GHz to selected customers by mid-2020 on a trial basis under special licenses which allow pre-auction commercial traffic. The trials will be supported by the launch of a Telstra-branded mmWave enabled device. Telstra will announce the first mmWave locations in the coming months.

“Not only will customers be able to enjoy trying out the benefits of mmWave in selected areas early, it means we will be on the front foot when spectrum is made available via the auction in 2021,” Penn says.

Emilio Romeo, Head of Ericsson Australia and New Zealand, says: “This announcement is an important step in realizing the benefits of mmWave spectrum for Australia and the world. With 5G live demonstrations on the 26GHz band now underway, this is a significant step in showcasing how mmWave can be scaled and integrated into a commercial mobile network.”

RURAL LTE COVERAGE MILESTONE

Ericsson and Telstra have also partnered to extend the cell range capability reach on its commercial LTE network, which could see capabilities double from the current 100km 4G limit up to 200km.

The milestone was achieved through an Ericsson Radio System software upgrade at a Telstra site in New South Wales.

Telstra says the resulting capability could extend Telstra's 4G cell range beyond the current 3GPP standards limit of 100km up to 200km – delivering significant value for its customers in rural, regional, and offshore areas. The first commercial deployment is expected later in 2020 – to be used in specific deployment scenarios.

Channa Seneviratne, Network Engineering Executive, Telstra, says: “Effectively doubling the current 4G coverage range of a mobile base station is a huge win for regional and remote Australia. Telstra continually works with our partners like Ericsson to provide innovative solutions to our business and customer needs. This solution will be considered as an option in certain locations to ensure that our LTE network has the coverage and capacity needed now and into the future.”

Emilio Romeo says: “This latest milestone is a testament to our continued industry leadership in rural and regional areas.”