TELSTRA has reacted to Optus' roll-out of 5G mobile coverage in the Hunter by switching on portions of its own network ahead of schedule.
The telco has announced the first of its 5G base stations, which offer coverage across Belmont North, Windale, Jewells, Mayfield, Wickham, Georgetown, Hamilton and parts of Kooragang, were activated this week.
It comes after the Newcastle Herald revealed Optus' expansion of its 5G network into Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, which includes the construction of multiple mobile towers in the two local government areas.
Only three weeks ago, Telstra said it had no 5G mobile coverage in the Hunter.
Optus said it offered coverage around Dudley, Whitebridge and Redhead, but was pressing ahead with plans for a rapid expansion.
Optus is awaiting approval to construct 5G base stations in New Lambton and Glendale, which would offer coverage to surrounding areas.
Telstra's regional general manager for NSW, Mike Marom, said the company's new 5G capacity would not only benefit customers with 5G devices, but also those with 4G devices in the vicinity of new 5G coverage.
"Telstra has always been dedicated to connecting people in regional Australia and ensuring they are amongst the first to experience the latest mobile technology," Mr Marom said.
"It is really exciting that Newcastle will be among the first cities in Australia, indeed the world, to have access to 5G connectivity.
"Telstra has been leading the way to pioneer 5G technology - with a number of world and Australian firsts - and make it available to Australian consumers.
"Now with its first 5G site on air, customers in Newcastle have a chance to be part of that cutting edge. As we roll out this new 5G technology, it will also improve 4G capacity and speeds."
Telstra wants to expand its 5G network into 35 major and regional cities across Australia by the end of June 2020.
Mr Marom said Telstra had already "commenced" coverage in 25 cities.
Besides Sydney, other NSW sites that now also have 5G coverage are Wagga Wagga, Port Macquarie, parts of the Central Coast, Coffs Harbour and Albury.