Ericsson joins Nokia in building Optus’s fixed 5G in Australia

13 May 2019 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Ericsson has joined Nokia in building 5G-based home broadband services for Singtel’s Australian unit, Optus.

In January Optus said Nokia had set up the first 5G sites in two suburbs in Canberra and an additional site in Sydney, with 47 more sites planned to be online by March 2019.

Now Ericsson has started its contract to build another 50 sites out of 1,200 that Optus plans to put into operation by March 2020.

The Australian government does not allow Huawei or ZTE kit to be used, so the two Scandinavian vendors will share the orders for the 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) roll-out.

Kent Wu, Optus’s head of network access planning and quality, said: “This is another significant milestone for Optus as we continue with our customer focused 5G roll-out plan. We are continuing to deliver a more dynamic and innovative 5G network for the benefit of our customers.”

Optus said in January that its 5G home broadband will cost customers A$70 (just under US $50) a month, with unlimited data at a speed of 50Mbps.

The company has asked customers to register their interest in installing the fixed 5G services.

In January Optus said Nokia would supply 5G customer premises equipment (CPE) as part of its contract. In the latest announcement there is no mention of CPE from Ericsson. Instead, Wu said: “We are working closely with Ericsson to conduct critical inter-operability device testing so that we can deliver a compatible 5G home broadband product to customers and open these sites up as part of our expressions of interest campaign.”

The 1,200 5G sites planned by Optus for March 2020 will be in all Australian states except for Tasmania and Northern Territory.