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Australian telecommunications operator Optus has taken a significant leap towards the commercialization of its 5G services following the successful completion of a 5G data call on 60 MHz using 3.5GHz spectrum.

The second largest telco operator made the 5G data call as part of pre-launch testing from its 5G site in Dickson, Canberra. Optus utilized a commercial grade 5G Radio Network and customer premises equipment (CPE) developed in partnership with Nokia.

The indoor Nokia 5G CPE has a high gain antenna capability which can enable the delivery of a 5G connection in residential areas, and the call was made using the 3GPP Release 15 September specification using a standard commercial chipset.

Dennis Wong, Optus managing director of networks expressed his delight at the operator reaching the milestone and said they were now much closer to deploying 5G services to its customers.

Wong said, “We are on the cusp of delivering this next generation technology into the hands of our customers and hitting this milestone is an important step towards our commercial 5G launch planned for the first half of this year.”

Using the 5G 3.5 GHz 60 MHz band means that Optus will be able to deliver greater capacity compared to 4G, enabling the use of multiple devices as well ultra-high definition video streaming which will be key for their customers when 5G begins rolling out this year.

Wong added, “This is the first time in Australia that a data call has been made using 60 MHz channel bandwidth on an Optus live network and a 5G device.”

In addition to this, Optus disclosed that when it begins switching on its 5G network across a number of capital cities in the first half of this year, the CPE will facilitate a 5G fixed wireless access experience for Australian consumers.

Wong continued, “For Optus, 5G is a fundamental part of building a smart network that keeps our customers connected. It’s important that customers experience the benefit of this next generation network from the outset. Our fixed wireless access product, combined with our ambitious roll out plan, means customers will be able to experience 5G soon.”

Wong was in a buoyant mood and reiterated that 5G is a ‘game-changer’ of a technology and that Optus was working tirelessly to deliver customers a meaningful 5G experience at launch.

He concluded by saying, “This is an incredibly exciting time for us as we gear up to put next-generation fixed wireless technology into the hands of consumers and businesses that will change how they live, work and play.”

Wong notes that Optus’ multi-year 5G network build plan includes upgrading and adding new mobile sites while densifying the network with innovative small cell solutions which will increase capacity and speed in highly populated inner-city locations.