Australia has made the global top five for 5G download speeds in a survey by UK-based mobile analytics company Opensignal, but with the technology still in its early stages here it falls behind in the rankings for availability and reach.
In a report, Opensignal's VP analysis Ian Fogg noted 5G was "near the beginning of its decade-long era".
"No mobile technology stands still, so we must continue to analyse the real-world experience and see how it changes and improves," Fogg said.
"To understand if similar jumps forward are happening with 5G, we need to monitor how the real-world 5G experience is evolving."
Australia scored highly in a number of metrics covered by the study, with Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher highlighting the "Year of 5G" is off to a super-fast start.
"Globally, Australia ranks fifth for 5G download speeds and eighth for 5G peak download speeds, which makes us world leaders in 5G," Minister Fletcher said.
"Australian users are experiencing average speeds of over 250 Mbps on our 5G networks."
Australia also ranks seventh for video experience, fifth for games experience sixth for voice app experience, eighth for 5G peak download speed and ninth for its "uplift", meaning the speed improvement from 4G to 5G.
However, Australia did not make the top 10 for 5G availability or reach, with Kuwait and South Korea leading both metrics respectively worldwide. Korea is near the top in almost every measure, with Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Switzerland and the Netherlands also scoring highly.
"South Korean users lead the world in 5G Download Speed with a score of 354.4 Mbps. Our users in six countries saw 5G Download Speed of over 200 Mbps - Australia, Kuwait, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and the UAE - while in all ten countries our users observed average 5G download speeds of over 150 Mbps which represents much faster speeds than using 4G technology," Fogg said.
"At first glance, these speeds may not appear especially fast because it's possible, occasionally, for 4G technology to deliver an individual speed test that is much faster.
"But it's unheard of for the average experience of 4G users to be in the hundreds of megabits per second in any country globally."
Australia's three major mobile networks operators now have active 5G networks. Telstra is aiming to have 75 per cent population coverage by June 2021, Optus has switched on more than 1,000 5G sites, and Vodafone is planning to reach more than 85 per cent of the population in Australia's six largest cities by the end of this year.
Australia will hold two 5G spectrum auctions in 2021. In April, high band 5G spectrum (in the 26 GHz band) will become available, enabling extremely fast, high-capacity services.
In December 2020, Telstra achieved a world-first 5G download speed record of 5 Gbps using high band 5G spectrum. In the second half of 2021, the Federal Government will make low band 5G spectrum (in the 850/900 MHz band) available, which will be crucial for broader geographic coverage of 5G services.
"The Government is making spectrum available, while the telecommunications industry is ramping up the rollout of the network - we are working together to make 2021 the 'Year of 5G' so that all Australians can enjoy the benefits this technology will provide," Minister Fletcher said.Never miss a news update, subscribe here. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
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