AUSTRALIANS are likely to be among the first in the world to access super-fast 5G phone speeds as the country's biggest telco leads an international push for changes to accelerate the next-generation network, and plans a world-first trial during the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
With 5G phone connections, users could be able to download the equivalent of 4000 high-definition movies at once, or 600 movies per minute to a smartphone, and the technology is likely to be just three years away.
Telstra chief executive officer Andy Penn told News Corp and other top Telstra executives attended the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week to push international technology leaders to accelerate the development of a 5G standard.
Mr Penn said meeting with top tech firms including Google, Microsoft, Ericsson and Qualcomm was a key part of bringing 5G speeds to Australia faster, and positioning Telstra as a "world-class technology company".
"Australians are very early adopters of technology and we also play a key role in being at the forefront of the development of global standards," he said.
"We were around 3G, we were around 4G, and we will be around 5G. It's important those global standards take into consideration the peculiarities of the Australian market."
Telstra networks group managing director Mike Wright said the company recently lobbied for changes to the worldwide 5G network standard to ensure faster download speeds would be available in Australian regional areas and not just cities.
"We've already got three changes or more through to optimise it for Australia because the rest of the world forgets how big Australia is," he said.
"Inevitably, they build everything to run to about 30 or 40kms. This time, for the first time, we'll bring that 5G standard to Australia that has the distance limits removed."
Even though the technology was unlikely to be ready before 2020, Mr Penn said planning was still under way for a live "pre-standard" trial of 5G networks in Australia at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, and would run for the entire event.
"The Commonwealth Games is a situation which gives you an opportunity to test multiple aspects (of the technology)," Mr Penn said.
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"You've got a large number of people in a small space at one time so you can test the congestion and the speed, you've got all the media happening … and of course we're seeing (virtual reality) start to play a bit more of a role in media."
Field trials late last year showed 5G networks were capable of delivering 20 gigabits per second downloads to phones, though the technology could be capable of delivering downloads up to 1000 time faster than current 4G networks.
Mr Penn said both smartphone hardware and monthly phone plans would have to change to accommodate the 5G network, but said the company was "working with global handset manufacturers" and other firms to adjust to the new demands.
The speedier mobile network would feed more than just smartphones, however, with Mr Penn naming autonomous cars and connected whitegoods as future users of a 5G network.
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