Optus trials mm-Wave 5G at indoor play centre in Melbourne

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Optus trials mm-Wave 5G at indoor play centre in Melbourne

Hopes to make the service commercially available "soon".

Optus is hoping to bring to market a 5G home internet service "soon" that offers multi-gigabit speeds, with a proof-of-concept currently underway at an indoor children’s play centre in Melbourne.

Managing director of marketing and revenue Matt Williams told an Optus business briefing that the proof-of-concept location is sharing its connection to power customer wi-fi, with strong early speed results achieved.

The proof-of-concept service uses millimetre-wave spectrum, and is what Optus will ultimately brand as “5G Max”.

While the telco had first revealed it was running a proof-of-concept late last month, the identity of the customer had not been disclosed.

“We are currently piloting our mm-wave 5G home service in Melbourne, so we have it rolled out there with Oakleigh Inflatable World,” Williams said.

“They are testing it in their business but also testing it with lots of customers using the wi-fi there, and it’s performing superbly.”

Williams said that once the proof-of-concept is complete, Optus will “then look to launch [5G Max] as a product for both our consumer customers and also our business customers.”

He did not disclose timing or pricing.

“It’s one of those ‘watch this space’ situations but it will be coming soon because we think it’s a great product and there’s plenty of consumer appetite for that amazing fast connection,” Williams said.

The proof-of-concept site has achieved speeds of 2.5Gbps so far, and Williams said that elsewhere speeds of up to 4Gbps had been clocked.

Williams said that Optus now had the millimetre-wave network online in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, with plans to rapidly increase the network coverage “over the next 12 months.”

“Optus 5G Max, known in the industry as millimetre-wave, heralds a new era in 5G technology by allowing our customers to unlock even faster network experiences, massive bandwidth and enormous capacity,” he said.

Like other telcos, however, Optus is not intending to allow a massive number of sign-ups to the service.

Williams also cautioned that the telco does not necessarily see 5G Max as an NBN replacement, a position that Telstra has also recently made clear.

“It’s certainly not something that’s going to see the whole of the NBN shift to our 5G network,” he said.

Optus has previously positioned mm-wave as “true 5G” and sees it as a chance to draw enterprise customers away from other telcos.

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