Home Mobility Fifield outlines how govt will support 5G rollout

The federal government has released a 5G directions paper and says it will bring together a working group in order to push deployment of the mobile technology in the country.

While several countries are testing 5G, the standards for the technology are not yet finalised, with the formal process being led by the International Telecommunication Union.

The ITU has developed draft technical specifications for 5G which include:

  • high data rates (1 Gbps for hotspots, 100 Mbps download and 50 Mbps upload for wide-area coverage);
  • massive connectivity (1 million connections per square kilometre);
  • ultra-low latency (1 millisecond);
  • high reliability (99.999% for mission critical ‘ultra-reliable’ communications); and
  • mobility at high speeds (up to 500 km/h i.e. high speed trains).

A statement from Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said commercial rollout of 5G mobile networks was expected to begin in 2020.

The directions paper outlines the ways the government will support the rollout in Australia by:

  • making spectrum available in a timely manner;
  • actively engaging in international standardisation processes;
  • streamlining planning arrangements to allow mobile carriers to deploy infrastructure more quickly and at lower cost; and
  • reviewing existing telecommunications regulatory arrangements to ensure they are fit-for-purpose in the 5G era.

The working group will comprise representatives from government and industry and will be brought together by the Communications Department.

The government expects to put its new spectrum management framework into place by 2019. The Australian Communications and Media Authority has been looking at the use of 1.5GHz and 3.6GHz and high frequency mmWave bands while considering
additional spectrum for mobile broadband services.

It has now decided to prioritise refarming of the 3.6GHz band over the 1.5GHz band as industry has said this band is likely to be a pioneer band for early 5G deployments.

Another reason for prioritising the 3.6GHz band is the need to provide greater clarity and investment certainty for incumbents and potential new band entrants alike.

Right now, the ACMA is discussing with industry which parts of the 3.6GHz band should be reallocated and on what terms. This is in line with international trends - the 3.6GHz band has been commonly used for 5G trials.

The auction for the 3.6GHz spectrum is expected to take place in 2018.

The directions paper can be downloaded here.


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.


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