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Sprint Is Already Selling '5G' Plans In Australia

Lifehacker Australia logo Lifehacker Australia 11/10/2018 Anthony Caruana
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The wireless internet market is heating up as service providers, keen to take advantage of sub-par NBN services, and customers who are sick of waiting for the network to arrive in their neighbourhoods are looking at alternative solutions. One of those companies is Spirit Telecom and they claim to be bringing 5G technology to the party many months ahead of our major telcos.

In actual fact, Spirit's networks aren't really bringing us 5G, but something more like 4G+ - by adding beamforming to their existing 4G services. (This is the same technology solution that Australia's major telcos will also be using; more on which later.)

Spirit explains that beamforming uses an array of up to 64 transmitting and 64 receiving antenna elements in such a way that the individual signals deliberately interfere with each other. This results in multiple beams broadcasting in different directions.

The beams are aimed at receivers producing a stronger signal and reducing unwanted interference. They say the system is smart enough to determine the best radio path to the receiver even if that involves bouncing the signal off buildings and other obstacles.

For us, that means faster connections over longer distances.

Spirit Telecom Chief Technology Officer Dainen Keogh says “The full suite of 5G technologies has yet to be fully confirmed, but is expected to include at least five separate components. The one technology that has been agreed upon is beamforming".

Keogh added that when the current telcos say they are launching 5G next year they are really just adding beamforming to their existing 4G networks. He says ‘4G+’ would be a better label, even though the global industry refers to it as 5G New Radio (5GNR).

The full suite of 5G standards hasn't yet been fully ratified.

“True 5G will be a totally new network that will eventually make the existing 4G redundant. True 5G probably won’t be available in Australia for another five to ten years," he added.

Beamforming is being used by Spirit Telecom as part their network, which Keogh says, makes them one of the faster NBN alternatives available today.

You can check out Spirit's 200Mbps wireless broadband plans here.

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