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Telstra invests quarter of a billion in 5G

On Friday, Telstra announced it had secured 1000 MHz in the 26 GHz spectrum auction, investing $277 million to further extend its leadership in 5G now and into the future.


The Australia Media and Communication Authority (ACMA) conducted the 26 GHz band spectrum selling 358 lots for almost $650 million to 5 winning bidders. Telstra secured 150 lots in all major capital cities and regional areas where the spectrum was sold.


The new mmWave spectrum would dramatically increase capacity and speeds for customers, as it is especially good at providing high-speed mobile broadband in high-density areas, such as built-up cities and towns, train stations, sports stadiums and other locations with a high concentration of people using their mobile devices.


Telstra has been testing mmWave on several sites, achieving a record peak download speed of 5 Gbps in a test earlier this year. The first mmWave-compatible device was launched in May 2020 and Telstra is working with global device manufacturers to bring more mmWave capable devices to market this calendar year.


mmWave speeds and bandwidth would make it possible to watch a football game at the MCG, with 5G-powered augmented reality goggles overlaying real-time player stats, all at the same time as thousands of others are watching the game.


The additional capacity would also enable Telstra’s mobile network to be used more effectively for 5G broadband in the home, providing another way to deliver fast and reliable internet where the current fixed connection may not meet a customer’s needs.


Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said, “We’re delighted with the outcome of the auction and while the licenses won’t come into effect until around the middle of the year, the ACMA is making available early access licensing which will allow us to use the spectrum even sooner.”


Telstra’s 5G technology now covers almost two-thirds of the Australian population and is on track to reach 75 per cent by the end of June 2021.


There are now more than 3,200 Telstra 5G sites on-air in more than 160 cities and towns, and 5G coverage is available in more than 2,450 suburbs across the country.


Telstra intends to pay for the spectrum in five equal annual instalments.