Telstra will partner with its long-term equipment supplier Ericsson to define 5G technology in an effort to launch the network for commercial use in 2020.
The technology will eventually replace the 4G networks that are currently being rolled out by Australia's telcos with faster mobile internet and less power consumption.
The standards for 5G however have not yet been fully defined. Telstra and Ericsson will work over the next five years to cement the standards, while also performing field and lab-based testing, the telco said.
Telstra also today announced the pair would work on Voice over LTE (VoLTE) services to allow consumers to make voice calls over 4G networks, which currently only allow data transmission.
A trial of VoLTE will be conducted in April before the service becomes commercially available later this year, Telstra said.
It said there were currently 10 smartphones on the Telstra network that would be capable of supporting VoLTE following a software update.
Rival telco Vodafone also expects to launch its VoLTE service this year.
Vodafone hired Ericsson last year to build its new core network, which will facilitate the introduction of the voice over 4G technology.The telco last year said it expected to launch the service in 2015.
Optus has also trialled the technology but is yet to detail a release date.
Telstra also today said it was on track to deliver three band carrier aggregation (which uses three LTE channels across 700MHz and 2600MHz) coverage by April across selected capital city CBDs.
It will start selling compatible LTE-Advanced Cat 9 devices later this year, offering peak speeds up to 450Mbps, the telco said.
The first will be a Netgear wi-fi hotspot.
“In addition we’re in discussions with a range of smartphone manufacturers about bringing Cat 9 handsets to Australia, with the first expected to be on market as early as the end of 2015,” Telstra group managing director of networks Mike Wright said in a statement.