Telstra, Australia’s largest mobile operator, announced it connected its first customer with a commercial 5G device on its next-generation mobile network.
FKG Group, a commercial construction and civil engineering company based in Toowoomba, Queensland, will use the first generation of the HTC 5G Hub to understand the capabilities of 5G connectivity and test the device’s features.
Gary Gardner, executive chairman of FKG Group, said it will use the 5G connection to explore IoT use cases and pilot new applications in the agriculture and food value chain.
Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said early familiarisation of the technology with customers is crucial to understand the opportunities that will open up as 5G becomes available more broadly. Telstra will add additional customers as the trial progresses, he added.
He noted that while its network is 5G ready in parts of Toowoomba, the user experience benefits of 5G are not expected to become available until the first half of 2019: the operator expects a range of 5G devices to become commercially available in that timeframe.
Last week the operator unveiled the mid-band 5G mobile hotspot device from HTC. It also announced it completed video calls on its test 5G network.
In August Telstra switched on its first 5G-compatible cell sites in Gold Coast to enable testing of pre-commercial devices, with aims to deploy more than 200 sites across Australia by the year-end.
Toowoomba was the first regional centre to be upgraded and there are now 22 5G-enabled sites in the area, where FKG Group is located. – Mobile World Live