You may have seen the recent news about the Cel-Fi software update that is coming that will enable 5G support in some Cel-Fi products. This is a worldwide update and some products in the Australian and New Zealand markets may or may not support 5G in our region in the future. At this point in time no operators in our region have approved Cel-Fi for use on 5G bands, so this 5G update will not be supported upon release. The biggest factor in determining this is firstly the mobile operators approving the Cel-Fi for boosting 5G and then if the flavour of 5G is supported by your Cel-Fi model.
Mobile Operator Approval
Cel-Fi once 5G enabled will not automatically boost a 5G signal. Each Cel-Fi product has an internal software config that lists the operator’s network code, the channels within a band to relay and if that channel is 3G, 4G or 5G. So 5G channels need to be manually added to the config and approved by each mobile operator before 5G will be relayed for each model. So it is firstly imperative for each mobile operator to test and approve the config before 5G will be supported. Nextivity has informed us that they will be working with all Oceania Mobile Operators in the next few months to gain testing slots and approval for 5G where applicable. We’ll report back to you the results of their progress.
The Type of 5G Must be Supported by Cel-Fi Model
The second factor is the type of 5G being used by the mobile operator must be supported by your particular model:
- 5G Band Support
The current 5G band in Australia being rolled out is 3500MHz (n78). A Cel-Fi model to support this band has yet to be released.
Each mobile operator is assessing the feasibility of using their current 3G and 4G bands in the 700-2600 band range to utilise for 5G. The government authority responsible for radio spectrum allocation (ACMA), is also looking at expanding the current 3G/4G bands to provide wider bandwidth and the possibility of new bands being allocated for 5G within this range.
For 5G to be relayed, the model of Cel-Fi you purchase must support that exact band. With the mobile operators yet to cement their plans, the additional bands they will use for 5G is still up in the air.
- Stand Alone and Non-Stand Alone 5G
5G can be rolled out as SA (Stand Alone), meaning it can operator totally independently of 4G, or NSA (Non-Stand Alone), which means the user is required to have a 4G connection present before 5G can then be established. Currently, in our region 5G is being rolled out as NSA, meaning a 4G signal must always be available to support 5G. Stand Alone 5G is still being fully developed and we expect to see it in the future.
GO2 G32 /SOLO/QUATRA support two or more bands at a time so each of these system types will support Non-Stand Alone 5G or Stand Alone 5G, as long as the bands are also supported by each model.
GO G31 can be upgraded to 5G, but will only support the Standalone version of 5G (requires an operator to support this type of 5G which is not currently present in our market today) and the operators roll out 5G on the band your GO model supports. This update will not be using the WAVE App like the other products above and will be a manual update which may require returning the unit to Powertec (costs may be involved). Further details will become available closer to the software being made available.
PRO or the older RS2 models cannot be upgraded to 5G.
The conclusion we have come to is Cel-Fi 5G support is yet to be decided for each mobile operator in our region. It’s too early to give an answer at this point in time and over the coming months we expect to have more answers.