Optus has switched on the first sites in its 5G home broadband service, making it the first carrier in Australia to commercialise the technology.
Two 5G home broadband sites are now live in Canberra and one in Sydney, with another 47 set to be up-and-running nationally within two months.
And chief executive Allan Lew doesn’t believe a ban on using products by Chinese telecom giant Huawei in the nation’s 5G network will hamper the firm’s efforts to turn on 1200 sites by March of next year.
Optus is inviting Australians living in 60 suburbs covered by the first 50 sites – in the ACT, NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia – to apply to be the first to use the technology, with a little hand-holding at first.
The service will cost customers $70 a month, with unlimited data offered at “superfast speeds” of at least 50Mbps.
Getting the early jump on offering the technology will give Optus a competitive advantage into the future, Mr Lew said.
“We are the first carrier in Australia, perhaps even the world, to enable the commercialisation of fixed wireless technology, using the latest global standard … and we are doing this at scale,” he said while launching the first sites in Canberra on Thursday.
The launch comes after TPG Telecom on Tuesday scrapped plans to build Australia’s fourth mobile network, due to a federal government ban on using products from Huawei in the 5G network.
The ban, introduced in August after TPG Telecom had already set its sights on using Huawei products, is based on security concerns.
Mr Lew said the ban won’t hold Optus back from a successful 5G home broadband rollout.
“Obviously having more options is better and having Huawei out of this limits our options, but I think we still have options, that’s the most important part,” he told AAP.
“We can still launch a program that is positive from a market perspective and allows us to have a good return on investment for Australians.”
Optus, which is owned by Singaporean firm Singtel, plans to have 1200 sites running by March 2020.
Mr Lew said the 5G home broadband is intended to complement the National Broadbank Network, rather than kill it.
“The NBN has a different set of solutions. We believe that our solution will meet the needs of households that want a flexible home broadband solution,” he said.
FIRST 60 SUBURBS TO GET OPTUS 5G HOME BROADBAND
ACT (nine sites):
Manuka (now live), Dickson (now live), Russell, Campbell, Weetangera, Mitchell, Franklin, Harrison, Wanniassa
NSW (22 sites):
Glendenning (now live), Bidwell, Warwick Farm, St Johns Park, Bonnyrigg, Tascott, Niagara Park, Springfield, Yattalunga, Woy Woy Bay, Phegans Bay, Koolewong, Daleys Point, St Huberts Island, Richmond Lowlands, Shalvey, Lethbridge Park, Blackett, Emerton, Dharruk, Minchinbury, Tregear
QUEENSLAND (13 sites):
Clayfield, Newmarket, Auchenflower, Kenmore, Kenmore Hills, Macgregor, Camira, Goodna, Brookwater, Bellbird Park, Gailes, Kallangur, Burpengary
SOUTH AUSTRALIA (three sites):
Trott Park, Reynella East, Old Reynella
WESTERN AUSTRALIA (13 sites):
Mosman Park, City Beach, Kiara, Lockridge, Eden Hill, South Guildford, Bellevue, Midland, Orange Grove, White Gum Valley, Hilton, Henderson, Wattleup