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Australian Government forms 5G working group with government and industry representatives

The Australian Government has formed a 5G working group brings together representatives from across Government and industry to foster an ongoing discussion on 5G issues.

The objective of the 5G working group is to foster an ongoing 5G 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.

The working group is expected to meet at least twice each year and its role will be reviewed by 30 June 2019.

The terms of reference step out the priorities for the working group, which include:

  • Identifying enablers and barriers to the deployment and effective use of 5G in Australia, including at the sector and industry level
  • Examining how the Commonwealth regulatory settings in sectors, including but not limited to communications, can be optimised for 5G networks and technologies
  • Providing a platform for collaboration across Government and industry on 5G matters
  • Engaging with the input of subject matter experts, in ongoing strategic dialogue about 5G matters.

The working group will be chaired by the Deputy Secretary, Infrastructure and Consumer Group, Department of Communications and the Arts (DoCA). Membership of the working group will be established on an invitation basis. Initial membership will include senior representatives from Government, industry (mobile carriers and equipment vendors) and peak bodies from the communications sector.

In October 2017, the Australian Government released a 5G directions paper. The paper, titled 5G—Enabling the future economy, outlines the immediate actions for Government to take that will support the timely rollout of 5G in Australia. The commercial rollout of 5G mobile networks is expected to commence in 2020.

5th generation mobile networks or 5th generation wireless systems, abbreviated 5G, are the proposed next telecommunications standards beyond the current 4G/IMT-Advanced standards.

5G is viewed as a comprehensive wireless-access solution with the capacity to address the demands and requirements of mobile communication beyond 2020. It will support improved connectivity, significantly faster data speeds, and very low latency. It can be an enabler for IoT applications such as autonomous vehicles and VR/ AR. 

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations specialised agency for information and communications technologies, has developed draft technical specifications for 5G which include: high data rates (1 Gbps for hotspots, 100 Mbps download and 50 Mbps upload for wide-area coverage); massive connectivity (1 million connections per square kilometre); ultra-low latency (1 millisecond); high reliability (99.999% for mission critical ‘ultra-reliable’ communications); and mobility at high speeds (up to 500 km/h i.e. high-speed trains).

Initial membership for 5G working group is as below:

Government and areas of interest

  • Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Precision agriculture
  • Department of Communications and the Arts - Infrastructure (including spectrum) deployment Department of Industry, Innovation and Science—Digital Economy Strategy
  • Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development - Autonomous vehicles
  • Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet - Smart Cities Plan and Digital Transformation activities

Industry—Mobile carriers

  • Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association
  • Optus
  • Telstra
  • VHA 

Industry—Equipment vendors

  • Ericsson
  • Huawei
  • Nokia
  • Samsung

Industry—peak bodies

  • Communications Alliance
  • Internet of Things Alliance Australia

Subject matter experts

Subject matter experts may be invited to participate in the working group on an issue by issue basis. Subject matter experts include academics and peak consumer or industry bodies from other sectors (such as the National Farmers Federation and the Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition).

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