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5G Working Group of Australia convenes to discuss future roll out of 5G services

According to a press release by the Australian Government, the 5G Working Group met in Canberra earlier this month to discuss the development of 5G technology in Australia.

The 5G Working Group was set up to foster an ongoing 5G strategic dialogue between industry, subject matter experts and Commonwealth Government representatives on how best to realise the benefits of 5G across a range of portfolios and sectors. It also works to ensure that sectoral regulatory frameworks are updated to take advantage of 5G.

Australia is well positioned to harness the opportunities of 5G. Australia has an effective and competitive mobile communications market, with voice and data coverage available to more than 99% of the population, according to an official document titled “5G – Enabling the Future Economy” published by the Australian Government.

In its recent meeting, two major carriers already signaled their intention to start rolling out 5G services from 2019. According to a press statement released by DoCA in last October, the commercial rollout of 5G mobile networks is expected to commence in 2020.

The 5G Working Group discussed the future work program and agreed that further exploration of the autonomous vehicle, agricultural and health sectors would provide a good platform to examine the barriers and enablers to 5G application in Australia.  

Chaired by the Deputy Secretary, Infrastructure and Consumer Group, Department of Communications and the Arts (DoCA), the working group consists of representatives and leaders from the government and industry.

Other government agencies involved in the working group include the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Department of Communications and the Arts, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, and Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, are also in the group.

5G will be a key enabler for a range of Australian Government priorities, especially in the areas of digital economy strategy, smart cities planning, digital transformation, infrastructure deployment, precision agriculture, and autonomous vehicles

Industry representatives from mobile carriers and equipment vendors are also members of 5G Working Group. They include: Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, Optus, Telstra, VHA, Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia, and Samsung.

Peak bodies from the communication sector, Communications Alliance and Internet of Things Alliance Australia, are also in the 5G Working Group.

This illustrates that the Australian Government’s recognition of 5G technology as an enabler of innovation and productivity across industry sectors and can significantly contribute to Australian’s growth and future prosperity.

In October last year, as reported earlier, the Australian Government released a 5G directions paper titled 5G – Enabling the future economy, outlining how it will support Australia being well-placed to realise the benefits of 5G and announced it would convene a working group to drive the deployment of 5G in Australia.

“The Government considers that 5G is more than an incremental change for mobile communications. Instead, it provides the underlying architecture that will enable the next wave of productivity and innovation across different sectors of the Australian economy. Efficient rollout of 5G and uptake of the services it supports has the potential to produce far-reaching economic and social benefits and support growth of Australia’s digital economy,” according to the official document.

The 5G Working Group is expected to meet at least twice each year, before the review of its role by 30 June 2019.

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