Is 5G the answer to Telstra’s share price troubles?

Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) CEO Andy Penn announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week that the telco has …

Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) CEO Andy Penn announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week that the telco has secured exclusive deals for 5G handsets with multiple smartphone manufacturers. 5G-capable phones will be available from Telstra by the end of June.

Although the details on these deals are unknown, it is increasingly evident that Telstra is very serious about leading Australia forward into a 5G world. Ensuring readiness for the new generation of cellular mobile communications is part of its bold T22 strategy, an effort to give new life to the company amidst years of falling fixed-line revenues.

Once a government-owned monopoly, Telstra’s fixed-line network infrastructure is the original source of the company’s legacy position at the top of the Australia telco game. However, high levels of competition, emergence of substitute technologies, shifting consumer preferences and the nationwide rollout of the NBN have taken their toll. The Telstra share price is less than half what it was four years ago.

Is 5G the answer to Telstra’s troubles?Not in the short term, at least.

The powerful technology has a slew of futuristic applications including autonomous vehicles and the Internet-of-Things. The rapid potential growth of these technologies is something Telstra is hoping to capitalise on with its Network Applications and Services (NAS) segment.

This is a long-term view, however. The truly revolutionary power of 5G technology lies within the millimetre wave band and auctions for millimetre wave spectrum are as far away as 2020. While Telstra has demonstrated its enthusiasm to be a 5G-leader, it’s yet to be seen whether the investment will pay off in terms of generating shareholder value. It’s not reasonable to think that Telstra’s competitors are going to miss the 5G train, Telstra’s just boarding early.

The telco’s short-term fate is more likely to be affected by the whim of the ACCC. The announcement of the ACCC’s decision regarding the TPG and Vodafone merger has been pushed back to 28 March 2019. If the merger is blocked, Telstra faces the same competitive threats that were feared months ago, particularly involving the launch of TPG’s mobile services, which are likely to be aggressively priced.

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Qualcomm, Ericsson make first 3GPP-compliant 5G NR sub-6 GHz OTA call

Qualcomm Incorporated and Ericsson announced have successfully completed a 3GPP Rel-15 spec compliant 5G NR over-the-air (OTA) call over …

The OTA call was conducted in the Ericsson Lab in Stockholm, Sweden on the 3.5 GHz band. Similar to the first OTA calls performed using millimeter wave (mmWave) in both 28 and 39 GHz spectrum bands, which occurred in September 2018, today’s sub-6 GHz call utilized Ericsson’s commercial 5G NR radio AIR 6488 and baseband products and a mobile test device powered by the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ X50 5G modem and RF subsystem.

In December 2017, Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies announced interoperability development testing (IODT) to help pave the way for commercial launches of 5G NR standard-compliant infrastructure, smartphones and other mobile devices in the first half of 2019. The successful 5G OTA calls using both sub-6 GHz and mmWave bands are critical milestones in the commercialization process as operators and OEMs around the world can now utilize these products to conduct their own tests in their labs and the field.

See also: Qualcomm brings 5G NR mmWave to mobile devices

Per Narvinger, Head of Product Area Networks, Ericsson, says, “Achieving interoperability on different spectrums shows the strength of the 5G ecosystem. Together with Qualcomm Technologies, we’ve successfully tested 5G NR on 39, 28 and now, 3.5 GHz band. These milestones add to the commercial readiness of 5G. They also assure operators of broader capacity options to cater for diverse use cases.”

See also: Leti, VSORA implement 5G radio on DSP

“Sub-6 GHz spectrum is instrumental to the global 5G NR rollout as it will provide wide area, high performance connectivity and has been allocated and auctioned in numerous regions around the world, including the US, Korea and Europe, with others to follow shortly,” says Durga Malladi, senior vice president, engineering and general manager, 4G/5G, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

See also: Keysight and NTT DoCoMo team up on 5G network emulation

See also: Software streamlines 5G smartphone production, cuts costs

See also: Huawei honours Turkish professor for 5G polar codes

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Optus hits back at Telstra 5G claims

Optus has refuted Telstra’s claims of being the first Australian carrier to launch a 5G network, saying it had already showcased a live network earlier …

Optus has refuted Telstra’s claims of being the first Australian carrier to launch a 5G network, saying it had already showcased a live network earlier this year.

“Optus publicly demonstrated its 5G capability in April at its 5G Live showcase during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, which combined state-of-the-art 5G use cases and 8K video streaming on the go on Optus’ live 5G trial indoor and outdoor network, in addition to achieving speeds of 16Gbps,” Optus Networks MD Dennis Wong said.

“Furthermore, the lack of commercially available 5G devices means that no network provider can claim leadership at this time.”

Optus had showcased its 5G capabilities during the Commonwealth Games, with CEO Allen Lew at the time outlining the company’s 5G roadmap in an interview with ZDNet.

“With our substantial spectrum holdings compared to our competitor and our advanced planning, Optus is confident in its ability to deliver commercial 5G services in January 2019. We will update the market on our plans in early September,” Wong added on Thursday.

Wong’s comments followed Telstra on Wednesday announcing the switch-on of its 5G network in the Gold Coast, with Australia’s largest telecommunications carrier saying it will send live over 500 “5G-capable” mobile sites by the end of the year.

During Telstra’s FY18 financial results call on Thursday morning, Telstra CEO Andy Penn told ZDNet that while 5G handsets will not be ready until next year, having the 5G network live means Telstra will be able to fully test the devices as they do become available.

“What we’re really doing is we’re starting to roll out 5G to make sure that our network is 5G-ready … ultimately, we need the handset manufacturers, the big companies around the world, to be making compatible 5G devices — but our network is essentially ready, so we can start trialling and testing those as they come through,” Penn told ZDNet.

“So we’re basically rolling out a number of sites, and we’ll expect to have 200, and that is across the nation, by the end of the calendar year, and absolutely we are working with Ericsson, they’ve obviously been a long-term partner with us. I won’t comment on whether we’re working with other parties as well, as we’re obviously in a pretty critically and strategically sensitive time for 5G competitively, but I’m really pleased with some of the things that we’re doing in 5G.

“This is going to be an exciting opportunity for Telstra, and an exciting opportunity for telcos, and this is about getting the technology right, being in a leadership position, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

Penn added to ZDNet that the 200 5G area launches by the end of calendar 2018 will be in both metro and regional areas.

Telstra had last month announced making a 5G data call across a commercial mobile network in partnership with Intel and Ericsson using the 5G non-standalone (NSA) network at Telstra’s 5G Innovation Centre in the Gold Coast.

Back in November, Telstra had similarly announced completing the world’s first 5G data call using 26GHz millimetre-wave (mmWave) spectrum on its production core network.

In March, Telstra also announced switching on the world’s first 5G-enabled Wi-Fi hotspots in the Gold Coast, with the idea to bring 5G out of the lab to test in the real world while working around the lack of compatible devices.

“We all know that devices for 5G won’t become available until next year at best, and we were saying, ‘well, how can we do something that effectively works around the limitations of no 5G devices’,” Telstra’s outgoing head of Networks Mike Wright told ZDNet earlier this year.

“So we came up with the idea of saying, ‘well why not use all the existing devices, they’ve all got Wi-Fi on them, and what we’ve done effectively is put multiple Wi-Fi hotspots into a 5G modem. So it’s not about the individual hotspots getting 5G speeds; it’s about a lot of users connected to those hotpsots generating lots of traffic that’s going through one 5G device.

“It’s like a super hotspot we’ve built out of 5G.”

Optus’ road to 5G saw it begin switching on its 4.5G network in February last year, followed by the addition of Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (Massive MIMO) and three-cell carrier aggregation to 4G at the end of last year.

Optus had in February announced that it will begin rolling out its 5G network across Australia in early 2019 in an aim to launch a fixed-wireless product in “key metro areas”, following its first 5G trial with Huawei back in November 2016.

The trial was conducted as part of Optus’ parent company Singtel’s memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Huawei; however, Optus had also signed an MOU with Nokia back in 2016 to collaborate on developing a 5G network, under which it undertook closed lab tests using Nokia’s 5G radio test bed on its Airscale product, as well as narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) tests.

Related Coverage

Telstra FY18 profit down by AU$345m ahead of nationwide 5G launch

Telstra has announced a net profit of AU$3.5 billion on revenue of AU$26 billion and EBITDA of AU$10.1 billion for FY18, citing the ‘enormous impact’ of the NBN as well as increased mobile competition.

Huawei Australia: ‘No urgency’ on government’s 5G decision

Despite all the hype and expectations surrounding 5G, Huawei has said there is no urgency on waiting for the Australian government’s decision, because the technology will evolve slowly.

Telstra’s 5G network goes live in the Gold Coast

Telstra plans to switch on more than 200 ‘5G-capable sites’ by the end of 2018, starting in the Gold Coast.

Optus launches ‘5G Live’ experience in the Gold Coast

Optus’ live indoor and outdoor trial 5G network in the Gold Coast is providing download speeds of up to 16Gbps, as well as demonstrating a range of 5G use cases including robotics and VR.

Optus announces 5G rollout for 2019

Optus will begin the rollout of its 5G network early next year for ‘key metro areas’, as recent tests with network partner Huawei have attained 2Gbps speeds using commercial customer devices.

How businesses are setting the tone for 5G (TechRepublic)

Tonya Hall sits down with Mohit Lad, CEO of ThousandEyes, to talk about how businesses are setting the expectations for 5G in the enterprise.

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5 Emerging Technologies That 5G Will Positively Disrupt

Disruption is the name of the game in the world of tech. We’re constantly on the cusp of some new innovation—interactive technologies, for example, …


Disruption is the name of the game in the world of tech. We’re constantly on the cusp of some new innovation—interactive technologies, for example, are changing how consumers shop and how brands set out to improve the ever-important customer experience. The next big tech innovation—5G—stands to revolutionize these and so many more, as it will be a major driver of digitalization. Why? 5G will be faster, more stable, and more versatile than existing 4G technology, and the new network can both prioritize the different types of data streaming and handle the more than 8.4 billion (and counting) IoT connected devices. As 5G emerges over the next few years, here are five areas that I believe will see a big impact!

  1. Immersive Gaming. 5G has many implications when it comes to gaming, and especially when it comes to gaming with AR and VR. For example, 5G is likely to make VR less cost-prohibitive. When complex computing can be rerouted to the cloud (thanks to faster connections), it takes that stress of home devices, thereby making them more widely available at lower price points. 5G will also change how immersive AR experiences can be, making AR creatures within games smarter and better able to interact with the gamer’s real-time environment—all with zero lag time.
  2. Autonomous Driving. Just how important will 5G be to the already-growing field of autonomous driving? In an interview with VentureBeat, an Intel exec likened 5G to the “oxygen” for self-driving cars. As infrastructures—and even entire smart cities—become more connected thanks to the IoT, processing bandwidth, reliability, and speed will not be matters of convenience, but matters of safety. It’s called V-to-X, meaning these vehicles will be able to communicate with other vehicles, pedestrians, and their surroundings. To make autonomous driving and ultimately smart cities work it is all about data. It has to be processed faster and closer to the vehicle.
  3. Remote Robotic Surgery. 5G will take telehealth to a new level. For example, researchers have created a robotic arm that remote doctors can use to operate on patients. The technology will be launched in 2020 and is not dependent on 5G to work; it is, however, dependent on 5G to work more reliably and more securely, an especially critical factor in the healthcare world. Ultimately, this development could make best-in-class care available to every patient, no matter their geography.
  4. Production-Line Robotics. As the Industrial IoT expands and is fueled by the capabilities of 5G, production-line robotics will be impacted in a big way. Currently, these systems are steeped in automation function but are often hampered by the limits of network capacity and reliability. 5G takes those limitations away and allows production-line robots to perform complex computing and transfer data in real-time. This will be a game-changer from a workflow and supply chain perspective.
  5. Augmented Reality. AR is becoming more mainstream, and 5G will be a major driver of that movement. As more AR apps are developed—including those that center around gaming, automotive video streaming, content production and distribution, and more—5G will deliver a seamless experience (even on mobile), enable social sharing (even from crowded venues), and much more.

What’s Next?

I once wrote that 5G will change the world, and I firmly believe that it will. Still need proof? MIT reported 5G could open $12.3 trillion in revenue across a number of industries, not just those listed above. Why? When speeds increase anywhere from ten to 100 times over 4G—and, not to mention, reliability skyrockets as well—what might that mean to live streaming? What about content? Social? Real-time analytics? Graphics capabilities in immersive tech? With so much potential for disruption, knowing what technologies are most likely to change the most—the five I described above—gives you a place to start and allows you to stay ahead of the curve, not stuck back staring at 4G’s spinning wheel.

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Qualcomm Millimeter Wave Antennas, Modem Chips to Help Advance 5G

Today’s topics include a Qualcomm millimeter wave radio that’s deemed a 5G technology breakthrough, and Juniper Networks bringing 400 Gigabit …

Today’s topics include a Qualcomm millimeter wave radio that’s deemed a 5G technology breakthrough, and Juniper Networks bringing 400 Gigabit Ethernet to its switches and routers.

On July 23, Qualcomm announced that a new antenna design and an integral modem chip utilizing millimeter wave technology are in production, and that cellphone makers already have samples. The use of millimeter wave communications is critical to the plans for 5G communications by all of the major carriers.

Millimeter waves involve radio wavelengths only a few millimeters long that bounce off hard surfaces, can be blocked by a human body, and can also be tightly focused and aimed. The advantage of millimeter wave radios is that they have the potential to deliver significant bandwidth at very low latencies. Because of this, a bandwidth of 5G will be delivered if all of the carriers and device makers can deliver communications using millimeter wave radios.

The Qualcomm solution pairs the company’s X50 5G modem with up to four QTM052 antenna modules in each smartphone, which would be on each edge of the device and contain four actual antennas.

Because of the MIMO design, the device can make use of signals arriving from any direction, including being reflected off of a building, even if the cell antenna isn’t directly visible.

As part of its 400 Gigabit Ethernet roadmap unveiled July 24, Juniper Networks later this year and in 2019 is bringing 400GbE capabilities to its PTX, QFX and MX series switch and router lineups aimed at data centers, WANs, enterprises and telecommunications. These will be used in cloud services, hyperscale environments, network backbones and data center interconnects.

The updates is the most recent step in Juniper’s push toward 400GbE, including the announcement last month of its 400GbE-capable Penta Silicon.

In addition, Juniper says plans are underway for new generations of ExpressPlus and Q5 silicon to support 400GbE and other features.

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