What is the status of Australia’s rollout?
5G antennas are being added to existing mobile phone base stations
(often referred to as ‘towers’) by Telstra, Optus and Vodafone in a
non-standalone set-up that utilises the 4G network for signalling
and network control.
This first implementation of 5G in Australia is operating on the 3.6GHz frequency band, falling into the Frequency Range 1 category, which is anything under 6GHz. This implementation of 5G is not using millimetre waves (mmWaves).
Frequency Range 2 ranges from 24.25 GHz to 52.6GHz. Australia has auctioned off the 26GHz frequency band later this year. The installation of small cell antennas has begun, and the introduction of mmWaves.
See ACMA for more information about the 26GHz spectrum auction here: https://www.acma.gov.au/consultations/2019-08/options-wireless-broadband-26-ghz-band-consultation-322018
AS OF OCTOBER 2021
Telstra's 5G network now covers over 75% of the Australian population, with the goal of hitting 95% of the population in 2025. Coverage spans Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart.
Optus says its 5G network now covers over 400,000 households in Australia, and coverage is available in a number locations including parts of Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
Vodafone's 5G network is smaller than Telstra and Optus but the carrier aims to provide 5G coverage to 85% of the population in Australia's six most populous cities - Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, and Canberra - by the end of 2021.
Small Cell Trials
5G in Australia (as of April 2020) is operating on the 3.6GHz frequency band, utilising the 4G network for signalling and control. Sites are easily found using the Radio Frequency National Site Archine (RFNSA), using the search tool to locate base stations near you using address attributes such as street names or postcodes. Please see the how to use RFNSA website on TOWER LOCATIONS page.
In late 2020, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will auction the 26GHz frequency band, which is in the millimetre range. Uptake of this spectrum will see the installations of small cells throughout our streets, as mmWaves have a shorter range and require antennas close together to ensure the signal can travel effectively.
Telstra have confirmed that the first small cell trials on the 26GHz frequency band using mmWaves will commence in:
They will be using Ericsson SM6701 small cell antennas on a combination of macro site installations and other locations. A summary of the information from Telstra:
Parramatta, Southport (Gold Coast) and Melbourne will be the trial sites.
The trial has started, with sites being switched on independently as they are built.
The trial is to test the technology to make sure that it works as a mobile band.
Parramatta and Southport will have antennas placed on existing macro sites. The Southport location is 41 Nerang St https://www.rfnsa.com.au/4215014/detail
Melbourne currently has 2 small cells proposed in the CBD. This is one on the corner of Collins St and Spring Streets https://www.rfnsa.com.au/3000272?first=1
Further sites may be added to the trial.
The sites are being added to RFNSA as they are being proposed.
The general public exclusion zones are approximately 2m.
Facilities are designed to ensure exclusion zones are not publicly accessible.
When asked if there was a power density increase expected across all infrastructure at the sites, Telstra responded: for trial sites there is generally no significant increase in distance of the exclusion zones, download the EME reports from RFNSA on the predicted maximum increases as a result of the installations.