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Telstra and Ericsson tested one of the world’s first 5G radio test beds in Melbourne, Australia, claiming to bring the technology “one step closer to deployment”, as the demo hit download speeds greater than 20Gb/s.

“The test bed used 800MHz of spectrum in a previously unattainable, high frequency band, which is 10 times more spectrum than we use with our 4G service,” wrote Mike Wright, Telstra’s group MD for networks, in a blog post.

“Testing revealed total download speeds (to two mobiles) greater than 20Gb/s which is very impressive in a real world, outdoor environment,” he said.

Australia’s largest operator said that while 5G will continue to improve mobile broadband and smartphone experiences, it also envisions “a world that includes connecting machines to machines on a mass scale” and hopes 5G will support the expected increase in the Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices.

The tests also claimed to have demonstrated the accuracy that can be achieved by beam steering technology, where the beam steering antenna array tracks a user’s location and directs a mobile signal straight to their device rather than sending it out in all directions or to a particular sector as is currently the case.

This means more capacity in the network and an improved network performance.

“Australia’s environment, size, and population density is unique, and it means we need to consider different things to other countries. We’re even trying to understand how radio signals propagate in through gumtrees,” wrote Wright.

Plans for the demo were first announced in August. Earlier in February, the operator said it sent employees to Ericsson’s 5G research centre in Sweden for training and to develop 5G radio channel models and said it had conducted 5G radio tests at Ericsson’s 5G experience centre that achieved download speeds of greater than 20Gb/s.

It also has plans to deploy a 5G trial on the Gold Coast in 2018 before full commercial launch from 2020.

The first official 5G specs are expected to be agreed by the mobile industry in 2018.

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