Telstra says it will have first dibs on 5G smartphones

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Telstra says it will have first dibs on 5G smartphones

Telstra says it be the first Australian mobile operator to sell 5G smartphones when they go on sale in the first half of 2019.

The telco revealed at CES in Las Vegas this week that it had secured exclusive partnerships with a handful of unnamed vendors, only referring to those partners as "some of the world's biggest brands".

“This is the year of 5G and, as a world leader in the testing and development of 5G, we have been working closely with numerous global manufacturing and industry partners to make this revolutionary technology real-world ready," Telstra chief executive Andy Penn said.

“These strategic relationships are now paying off directly for our customers, who will soon have exclusive access to 5G enabled devices on the nation’s largest and fastest mobile network, and other devices will also soon hit our stores.”

Telstra has been vocal about the progress of its 5G network, though commercial viability isn't expected until the second half of 2019. The telco has already claimed a number of 5G world firsts in the lead up to its launch, including the first 5G call on a commercial network, the first connection of a 5G mid-band commercial device and the first 5G-enabled wi-fi hotspot precinct.

Telstra said it had so far invested approximately $8 billion into its mobile network over the past five years, including the $386 million forked out in December to buy 143 lots of 5G spectrum from the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Penn also revealed that it had connected more than 200 5G mobile base stations across Australia by the end of 2018.

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