Several areas in South East NSW are among the first in Australia to have access to the 5G mobile network as Telstra works towards its goal of rolling out the new network to 75 per cent of the population by June 2021.
The 5G network switched on in Nowra, Malua Bay, Goulburn and Queanbeyan earlier this year. Canberra also has access to the 5G network.
Batemans Bay and more areas in the Eurobodalla and Shoalhaven shires will also have access to the 5G network before the next financial year.
Telstra regional general manager Chris Taylor said the telecommunications company is concentrating on rolling out the network to populated metropolitan areas in regional Australia, including Nowra, Goulburn and Queanbeyan.
However, Telstra also decided to extend the network to Malua Bay during the past month after its tower was destroyed in the past summer’s bushfires.
Residents in the coastal town were provided with 3G and 4G mobile service from a temporary cell following the fires.
“Seeing as we needed to replace the tower, we decided we’d install 5G at the same time so we don’t have to disturb that site again,” said Mr Taylor.
The 5G network rollout has picked up pace ahead of major 5G device launches such as the iPhone 12. However, people with 4G phones will also benefit from the 5G network.
“The 5G network can’t improve coverage but it will improve the speed and experience for people with 5G and 4G phones,” said Mr Taylor. “While people with 5G phones will get all the benefits of the network speed and download speed, the 5G network also enhances the 4G network.”
Download speeds on the 5G network are meant to take seconds instead of minutes and provide users with seamless streaming and real-time gaming. It is the next leap forward in mobile network technology after 2G provided SMS (short message service) and picture messaging, 3G provided mobile internet, and 4G made streaming and sharing part of everyday life.
However, there are still many areas in South East NSW without any mobile coverage. Mr Taylor said Telstra is still participating in the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program and investing in black spot areas to provide everyone with coverage.
Stations at Wyndham, south of Bega, and Bibbenluke, near Bombala, recently switched on under the Mobile Black Spot Program, while the 3G tower that services Yowrie and Wandella was recently upgraded to provide 4G coverage.
“We’ll continue to upgrade sites from 3G to 4G during the next four years before we shut down our 3G network,” said Mr Taylor.
Telstra plans to shut down its 3G network by 2024, which means people with 3G-only mobiles will need to upgrade to a phone that is 4G compatible.
“The reason we are closing the 3G network is to free up radio frequencies for the 5G network,” said Mr Taylor. “It’s very similar to the reason we shut down the 2G network about two or three years ago as we built up our 4G network.”
Original Article published by Hannah Sparks on About Regional.