Telstra opens 5G Innovation Centre on the Gold Coast

Australia's Gold Coast, now officially a hotbed of 5G demo activity. Image credit: Marcel van den Bos / Shutterstock.com

Telstra has opened a 5G Innovation Centre at its Southport Exchange on the Gold Coast where it will test next generation mobile technologies in local conditions to support the early commercial deployment of 5G mobile services.

Telstra said the Innovation Centre is central to a A$60 million investment Telstra has made to upgrade infrastructure on the Gold Coast to support growing demand and major events in the area. That’s part of the A$5 billion it is investing in the three years to June 30, 2019, to upgrade and expand its mobile network, acquire spectrum and lay the foundations for 5G.

Telstra’s chief operations officer Robyn Denholm noted that Telstra has already conducted a 5G field trial and a 5G outdoor data call over 26-GHz mmWave spectrum.

Denholm said the 5G Innovation Centre is designed to enable collaboration among technology vendors, developers, start-ups and Telstra’s enterprise customers. Telstra will also conduct 5G field trials in the coming months in and around the Gold Coast. As it happens, the Gold Coast will also be the location for a meeting of 3GPP in September to consider the global standards for 5G.

Demonstrations and use cases on show on the Gold Coast center include:

  • A field trial using a moving vehicle demonstrating how the high bandwidth and low latency of 5G can deliver an immersive view from the driver’s perspective via virtual reality headsets and support autonomous driving.
  • A speed test of around 3 Gbps down and 300 Mbps up over mmWave spectrum demonstrating the speed and capacity of 5G and how that will support advanced multimedia applications such as augmented and virtual reality.
  • How drones enabled with artificial intelligence can support surf lifesaving and be operated on a mass scale by 5G beam forming technology targeting each drone.
  • A robotic arm demonstrating how the ultra-low latency of 5G can support a range of industrial applications requiring precise control.

On Friday, rival Optus announced it will be hosting its own 5G technology showcase during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Optus plans to offer 5G as a fixed-wireless service, with rollouts scheduled to commence sometime next year.

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