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Forget NBN: 4G broadband is to be the Next Big Thing, says analysts

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High speed mobile broadband on 4G network is set to explode with 7 million devices in use by 2016, local analysts Telsyte predict.

This marks a jaw dropping rise from the current 100,000 4G customers Telstra has on its network launched last year – the first live service in Oz – with rival Optus set to kick off its service in Newcastle later today,

20% of all mobile connections in Oz will be on 4G Long Term Evolution running at speeds of up to 40Mbps by mid-2016, say analysts enabling “a new era of high-speed, data-intensive mobile applications for video communications, collaboration and telecommuting.”

And the number of 4G LTE ready devices, touted as double web speeds of 3G, is also set to rise, although slowly, with “another one to two” mobile broadband devices coming from Optus after its network goes live, says Telsyte.

Read: 4G War: Optus “Faster” 4G Live, (Look Out Telstra)

The availability of LTE devices will be vital for 4G take up, warns Telsyte analyst Alvin Lee, which will be mainly on broadband devices this year due to “limited options” in hardware devices.

Currently Telstra has just two 4G-ready smartphones – Samsung Galaxy S II, HTC Velocity, one Samsung tablet and two broadband devices.

But lets not even mention the Apple iPad 4G (that wasn’t).  But it looks like not much 4G hope for future iPad and iPhones either, reckons Lee.

“LTE adoption is likely to be driven mainly by mobile broadband devices in the next 12 to 18 months due to theThe latest iPad and the forthcoming iPhone are unlikely to be able to connect to any of the Australia’s LTE networks.”

The government auction of 700MHz and 2500MHz spectrum to take place later this year will also affect the future of LTE in Australia, given 700MHz will likely be the common LTE band globally and offers better propagation,” Lee says. Carriers are also unlikely to access to the 700MHz spectrum until 2015 which could further slow uptake.

Telstra 4G LTE runs on 1800Mhz, while Optus is using 700Mhz, which promises faster speeds.

However, despite these massive take up in Oz the move to 4G will be “slower” than the shift 3G services due to only two out of three carriers in Australia currently planning to deploy LTE networks.

 

Streaming content on mobile, with video clips, radio and music are now “routine” activities for Ausssies, while use of maps and navigation applications have also risen of late due to popularity of smartphones and tablets

4G speed of up to 40Mbps “will open a lot of doors for applications that are data hungry and with a more spontaneous response requirement, such as turn-by-turn navigation and video applications,” says Lee .

25% of Aussies are regularly using voice or video call applications, mainly Skype.

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