The grant application period under round 1 of the Australian Government 5G Innovation Initiative closed this week on March 31 at 5pm.
The government invited businesses to “help build Australia's 5G ecosystem” by testing and developing 5G uses, applications, services and products, including Internet of Things (IoT) applications.
The initiative aims to support emerging business and commercial uses of 5G, including by demonstrating the commercial benefits for businesses using 5G solutions.
The government has earmarked $10 million in grants for the first round of funding and another $10 million for a second round.
In feedback to the government during development of the initiative, Telstra encouraged the use of a clear definition of 5G to guide funding. This would avoid money being spent on initiative that could be adequately served by 4G or other technology.
Optus pushed for funding to go to initiatives that involve mobile network operators. It argued there was a risk money could be “exhausted on niche projects that have no pathway to scalability, or granted to applicants that are not in the business of networks and are not equipped to consider 5G as a holistic technology solution.”
Progressing applications without involving MNOs would be “ill-advised”, Optus argued, “as MNOs have existing expertise, infrastructure, and access to spectrum.”
In its feedback, Cradlepoint pointed out that “a lot of 5G use cases can be trialled to a degree using gigabit LTE technology”. [Update] A Cradlepoint representative contacted us, pointing out that it recommended to the government that when rolling out this initiative, "it should be considered that a lot of 5G use cases can be trialled to a degree using gigabit LTE technology. This can help address any issues around 5G availability in areas where gigabit LTE is available. Such appropriate use cases can be trialled on gigabit LTE and then graduate to 5G prior to any broad or commercial rollout.”
Cradlepoint's submission to the government also pointed out that there are "5G applications in the pipeline for almost every geographic region in Australia: the only barrier is coverage.”
Last year, Cradlepoint announced that Australian-based Taylor Construction had trialled the use of its 5G products. At the time, the construction company was experimenting with holographic building visualisation, wide-area safety scanning and IoT structural sensing applications, according to Cradlepoint.