Nokia and UTS open the door to a 5G future with new research facility – iTWire

Nokia and UTS open the door to a 5G future with new research facility – iTWire

TPG Telecom has announced it has reached over 85 per cent 5G population coverage in ten of Australia’s largest cities and regions as it delivers a smarter 5G network faster following last year’s merger.

The milestone has been achieved with the launch of the TPG Telecom’s 5G standalone core, which connects devices directly to 5G without the need for a 4G connection, leveraging its 700MHz spectrum holdings, TPG Telecom says.

TPG says the mobile network key facts are:

  • Over 85 per cent 5G population coverage in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Wollongong and NSW Central Coast
  • 5G capable of delivering speeds of more than 400Mbps (in areas with 3.6GHz spectrum)
  • 5G standalone core triples average site coverage footprint, increases the addressable market for 5G fixed wireless, improves latency by around 30 per cent, and provides a more consistent 5G experience
  • Strong national 5G spectrum holdings with 700MHz and 3.6GHz spectrum deployed
  • 26GHz (mmWave) spectrum acquired and now in testing phase
  • Around one million 5G-enabled devices on the network and standalone capability upgrades for major 5G devices due in coming weeks
  • More than 100 5G sites being added each month, with around 160 sites to be upgraded in November

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5G coverage tripled to reach 2 in 3 Australians

TPG Telecom chief executive officer Iñaki Berroeta said the 5G standalone core is a game-changer for the company and its mobile and home internet customers.

“This is truly a pivotal moment for TPG Telecom and sets us up to deliver 5G’s full potential,” Mr Berroeta said.

“The upgraded core network has amplified our 700 MHz spectrum, tripling our 5G coverage and giving us greater reach across suburbs and in densely populated areas.

“This will give us a competitive boost going forward, with our 5G coverage on par or ahead of other mobile networks in many areas.

“It not only means more coverage in more places for mobile customers, it also significantly increases our 5G fixed wireless footprint.

“Two in three Australians are now covered by our 5G where they work and live, and with the first major device due to be upgraded to work with standalone 5G in just a few weeks, the new coverage is ready.”

A smarter network

Mr Berroeta said the coverage milestone was a key merger integration achievement.

“The merger has enabled us to build a better and smarter 5G network faster than we otherwise would have, delivering one of the biggest and most tangible benefits for customers,” he said.

“Since the merger, we have integrated our spectrum, fibre and small cells to create our best ever mobile network.

“The combination of the 700 MHz low band spectrum holdings of the pre-merged businesses has enabled us to deliver an outstanding 5G network and means we are strongly-positioned for the future.

“Using innovative approaches such as our 5G factory-assembly, we have also significantly increased our speed of site delivery, switching on more than 100 5G sites per month.

“We will deliver around 160 5G sites in November. No other carrier has achieved that with a full upgrade like ours and we are now delivering more sites a month than the others combined.

“Our 5G upgrade rollout has been in full swing for months and we will keep that momentum as we complete the program.”

On the 5G map

Mr Berroeta said the 5G standalone core was a multi-year project as part of the company’s 5G network roadmap.

“This puts us firmly on the 5G map, and the project completion is a testament to our network team who skillfully navigated challenges including lockdowns and the 5G vendor restrictions,” he said.

The future of 5G

TPG Telecom executive general manager mobile and fixed networks Barry Kezik said the standalone architecture is the future of mobile connectivity.

“Not only have we significantly increased our network footprint, this paves the way for customer uses which aren’t yet a reality or haven’t even been dreamt up,” Kezik said.

“We’re talking about a new world of possibilities such as smart training, remote control for mining and industry, and smart city applications.

“One of the most transformative capabilities is it enables network slicing which will allow us to deliver a range of new services to Enterprise customers by setting specific connectivity, speed and capacity requirements for individual applications.

“Through cloud-based technologies, we will be able to manage the network more effectively and ultimately offer customers a better experience.

“I’m very proud of the expertise, skill and professionalism of our teams to deliver one of the world’s most significant network transformation programs in such a short timeframe.”

The major benefit of 5G especially in stand alone mode will be a significant drop in latency, allowing 5G networks to rival fixed access networks on this critical measure. The amount of 700MHz spectrum is relatively low compared to the higher mid-band and mmWave spectrum holdings, but 700MHz 5G has a far greater reach than these higher frequency bands. Around 50Mbps download speeds can be expected in areas that are only covered by 700MHz.

TPG Telecom is accelerating the deployment of 5G in the mid-band with innovative deployment processes and solutions, such as the integrated 5G passive active antenna reported here. High speed, low latency fixed wireless and mobile access to rival fixed networks is fast approaching the hands of most Australians.

TPG Telecom says it partnered with Ericsson and Nokia to build its 5G standalone core, with Ericsson providing the packet core solution and Nokia providing the subscriber data management solutions.

Smartphone manufacturers are expected to start pushing out updates to enable 5G standalone compatible handsets within weeks, TPG Telecom said.

This first appeared in the subscription newsletter CommsWire on 15 November 2021.