Australia just fast-tracked the start of 5G mobile networks

Virtual reality demonstration at Huawei Mobile Broadband Forum in Tokyo. Picture: Tony Yoo, Business Insider

The Australian Communications and Media Authority on Monday proposed accelerating the process for allowing telcos to eventually build 5G mobile networks.

Such networks will allow more data to be delivered faster with less delays, meaning it will help support emerging technologies like intelligent cars, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and connected appliances.

The ACMA on Monday invited interested parties to comment on bringing forward the allocation process for the 26GHz part of the spectrum to use for 5G, despite international organisations not yet having formally agreed on it as the standard.

“Australia has a strong track record of timely review of spectrum arrangements in support of innovation in the communications industry,” said acting ACMA chair Richard Bean.

“5G in the millimetre wave bands presents a great opportunity to maintain this record so the Australian community will continue to enjoy the benefits of early uptake of new technology.”

At an industry event last week, ACMA heard that international standardisation was “progressing rapidly” and there was “the very real possibility that 5G broadband could be using these higher frequency bands before the end of the decade”.

The 26GHz frequency is currently used for conventional activities like radio astronomy and fixed communications – with ACMA considering “incumbency issues” to be minimal.

“Unless there are significant reasons advanced to the contrary, the ACMA will use the information garnered from this process and develop an options paper for release in the first quarter of 2018,” the organisation stated.

South Korea is preparing a 5G network to be commercially live for the Winter Olympics next year, while Telstra has previously earmarked the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games as a site for a 5G trial.

“We recently conducted 5G radio testing at Ericsson’s 5G experience centre with tests in the lab delivering download speeds of greater than 20Gbps. That’s the equivalent of downloading around 4,000 different HD movies all at the same time,” said a Telstra spokesperson.

“We’re looking forward to working with the ACMA and others to ensure 5G services are made available as quickly as possible so that Australia can also be a world leader in this technology.”

NOW READ: 6 startling things you can do on a 5G mobile network

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