Telstra has begun selling its first commercial 5G device, an HTC-manufactured mobile hotspot that also supports 4G. The company's CEO also revealed today that Telstra would charge many of its customers a premium to receive 5G connectivity.
The telco in December said that the HTC 5G Hub would be one of the first wave of 5G-capable devices it would offer to customers.
The hub is the first mobile 5G device available from Australian telcos. Rival Optus has also begun offering 5G services; however, the Optus end-user device is designed to deliver a fixed wireless service to households.
“Our launch of the HTC 5G Hub is the moment 5G becomes a reality for Australian consumers,” Telstra’s CEO, Andy Penn, said in a statement released by the telco.
“Since 2016, we have been working with some of the world’s leading technology brands to ensure Australians are among the first in the world to be able to access 5G.
“HTC has been a key partner for Telstra, innovating new technologies and driving greater connectivity for our customers. This launch of Australia’s first 5G mobile device is a testament to that partnership and we are proud to be launching it today”.
Telstra today also revealed that from 28 May it would begin offering the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, which will be the first 5G-capable handset available from the telco.
Telstra said the first stages of the rollout of 5G support across its network had focused on CBDs and selected regional centres, with coverage in 10 cities. In January, the telco said it had already upgraded 200 of its mobile sites to support 5G. Over the next 12 months or so, Telstra expects to expand coverage “five-fold” Penn wrote in a blog entry.
The CEO revealed that when Telstra launches its new mobile plan line-up in June, it will offer 5G support for free for 12 months. However, following that period Telstra customers will have to pay $15 a month for 5G connectivity – with the exception of those on the company’s top two plans.
Last year the company spent $386 million on additional spectrum licences to help it deliver the next-generation wireless standard.
Telstra said the HTC 5G Hub is available for order online today and will be available in-store from 28 May.