Telstra Breaks a World Record With Its 5G Network

Telstra Breaks a World Record With Its 5G Network

Telstra has just broken the world record for performing the longest distance ‘standalone 5G’ phone call from a signal tower. Not necessarily the longest distance phone call, but the longest from the connected signal tower when operating on 5G.

The Aussie telco was able to pull off the phone call with the test carried out at 99.8km away from the signal tower in Burra, South Australia. It’s a separate record to another that Telstra claims to hold the longest phone call on a 5G network, which the telco broke back in 2021, with a distance of 113km.

This new record is different in two ways: one, it was pulled off on a commercial, rolled-out network (the standalone 5G network back then was still in development from Telstra), and two, the phone call used voice over NR technology, which leverages back-end data transmission tech to produce better voice clarity with lower latency. Telstra claims it more than doubles what was previously thought possible for the tech.

The telco used a Samsung Galaxy S23 handset to pull the record off, an interesting choice considering that it’s more than a year old and wasn’t the top-of-the-line option among Samsungs that year, but even so, it’s quite an exceptional result. Telstra says that only the S23 and S24 range of Samsung devices would be able to handle the Standalone 5G technology.

But we’ve glossed over ‘standalone 5G’ a bit, and it’s important to note what that is. Standalone 5G, often referred to as 5G SA, is a step above the standard 5G technology that’s being employed. When we talk about Standalone 5G, we’re referring to a network that takes advantage of 5G-powered operations from beginning to end, including the ‘core’ that powers a phone’s ability to access the internet.

Telstra first opened up Standalone 5G in late 2022. When we talk about non-Standalone 5G, we’re usually referring to a network that has a 4G-powered core.

Naturally, having 5G fleshed out from beginning to end improved speed and reliability, and that’s what Telstra was gunning for in this test.

“This breakthrough in 5G voice technology is a testament to Telstra’s unwavering commitment to network coverage excellence, which is vital for our regional and rural customers,” Telstra executive for wireless network engineering Sri Amirthalingam said.

With this record, Telstra is also adding a 5G requirement to its ‘blue tick’ criteria, which the telco uses to recommend devices to people living in rural and regional Australia.

“We are proud to be leading this work globally and will continue to evolve the Telstra Blue Tick program alongside our device partners so we can deliver the best coverage experience,” Amirthalingam added.

Anyway, good going Telstra. The company is keeping a running list of its records on this website.

Image: iStock