Telstra's 4G network is rapidly expanding, with announcements that:
- Total 4G coverage will reach 90pc of the Australian population by the end of January 2015,
- 700MHz 4G will be activated on January 1 2015 to cover a 3KM radius of all capital city CBDs and 50 regional locations, that
- Activation of commercial trials of 700MHz services to more than 20 additional metropolitan and regional centers in the lead up to January, with selected areas of Sydney, Adelaide, Darwin, Bundaberg, Yamba and Sarina, to come online next week.
- Significantly faster 4G speeds than currently available will go live on the Telstra mobile network to customers in enabled areas with 700 MHz compatible devices.
- Telstra aims to have more than 1 million 700 MHz ready devices in customers' hands by the end of year.
Kate McKenzie, Telstra COO said the Company's $1.3 Billion investment to add 700 MHz and 2600 MHz spectrum to Telstra's 4G service was a major investment designed to ensure customers continue to enjoy the best coverage, network reliability and consistently fast speeds as more activity, more people, and more devices come onto Telstra's network.
"Our customers are relying on mobile broadband more than ever. The explosion in applications, shift towards mobile video consumption and use of mobile in commerce means demand for connectivity continues to grow strongly," Ms McKenzie said.
"We're staying ahead of this demand by using the 700 MHz band and aggregation techniques to massively increase network capacity. This will allow us to offer customers, with compatible devices, Australia's best and most reliable mobile service."
Telstra has also invested in double the holdings of 700 MHz spectrum than any other carrier, with the Company having acquired 2 x 20MHz blocks of the 700MHz band compared with Optus having acquired 2 x 10MHz blocks of the 700MHz band.
As with the Next G 850MHz 3G network, the low band spectrum of the 700MHz allows mobile signals to travel further and reach deeper into buildings.
Where it's added to Telstra's existing 4G footprint, the new spectrum will double Telstra's existing 4G capacity, offer at least double the theoretical peak network speeds than current Telstra 4G services, and provide customers using 700 MHz capable devices in 700 MHz enabled areas faster and more reliable speeds.
Telstra will also expand the use of carrier aggregation services - combining the 700 MHz and 1800 MHz bands - giving customers with compatible devices theoretical peak network speeds up to 300 Mbps, with the usual caveat that "typical user speeds will be lower depending on location, device and other factors."
The Company is also bringing forward the availability of 4G 700 services in a number of locations through a series of 4G 700 commercial trials, which have already commenced in selected parts of Perth, Fremantle, Esperance, Mildura, Mt Isa and Griffith, and from next week Telstra will switch on services in parts of Sydney, Adelaide, Darwin, Bundaberg, Yamba and Sarina.
As many as 20 additional metropolitan and regional centres are expected to benefit from early access in the lead up to January.
Telstra will also continue to invest in additional 4G sites on 1800 MHz and 2600 MHz spectrum, to further boost 4G capacity and speeds where customer demand is high.
The network upgrade makes 700 MHz compatibility a must-have feature for anyone looking to update their smartphone or wireless broadband device, with almost all of this year's most sought-after smartphones, tablets and mobile broadband devices are set to be 700-ready, alongside a total of 20 devices expected to be in Telstra's range by Christmas.
Karen McKenzie added: "We have been working with the industry and global carriers to drive the use of 4G 700 and set it as the standard for 4G services of the future. That will allow us to assemble a wide range of 700-ready compatible devices ahead of full-launch in January.
"Over a million customers are expected to have a 700 MHz ready device by the end of the year, which will allow them to experience improved coverage and speed as soon as services are switched on in their area."
Telstra also notes that, once fully enabled in 2015, the Company will have the world's largest 150Mbps peak network speed capable APT700MHz mobile network by coverage area, and the world's largest coverage area that supports peak network speeds of up to 300Mbps on Category 6 devices.