Built in 3G network adapters for notebooks has been a flop with users preferring an “upgradable” dongle or USB device claims Telstra executives at the launch of the Companies new “Superfast” 4G LTE network that deliver download speeds of up to 40Mbps.In one test conducted by ChannelNews the new black 4G USB device delivered faster speeds than a Telstra Bigpond cable network.
Set to be launched today in all major capital CBDs and 30 regional and metropolitan centres the network is said to be one the fastest 4G networks in the world.
At one stage Telstra executives said that US networks were currently out 4G networks which in reality were 3G networks “dressed up as 4G”.
Warwick Bray the Executive Director of Mobile for Telstra said ” Current[ly] our 3G Wireless dongles are outselling Smartphones as consumers are preferring a dongle over a built 3G card.”
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In a demonstration at Telstra’s Experience Centre in central Sydney, Goonan and mobile director Warwick Bray showed 4G-delivered HD video streaming simultaneously to seven assorted laptops. A Speedtest.net test showed a downlink at 16.8Mbps and an uplink at 18.65Mbps.
(The uplink was actually faster since it wasn’t sharing the link, Telstra execs explained).
Telstra will market a new 4G/3G dongle – branded “BigPond” for consumer use, “Telstra” for business users – to allow a laptop to connect seamlessly to both networks. As a traveller moves beyond the current 4G limit – around 5km from the city centre – the transmission will switch smoothly to 3G and vice versa, executives said.
The 4G network currently operates on the 1800MHz spectrum previously used for Telstra’s 2G GSM network, with remaining traffic from that network now using its 900MHz spectrum. The NextG 3G net occupies 850MHz spectrum – chip technology enables the smooth switchover.
Goonan said the 700MHz “digital dividend” spectrum to be auctioned by the Government late next year would be an attractive addition, enabling a wider rollout, if it was successful at the auction.
The BigPond/Telstra dongle will be offered at zero upfront on a $59.95/monthly plan which includes up to 8GB of data. Other plans targeting business users will offer up to 15GB.
Telstra announced the 4G network, which uses Ericsson technology, in February and installed the first base station in May. Cost of the roll-out has not been stated but is said to be within Telstra’s planned capital expenditure.
Telstra CEO David Thodey said Australians could now access one of the world’s most advanced mobile networks delivering some of the fastest mobile download and upload speeds available anywhere.
“Today marks a new high-speed chapter in Australian mobile telecommunications. Telstra’s 4G network delivers mobile speeds scarcely imagined a decade ago, making it easier for people to connect with the things they need and love when on the move,” Thodey said.
Telstra said that users are able to get access to the new 4G network via a 24 $59 a month plan that at this stage gives them access to 8GB of data.
Bray said that Telstra was not differentiating the pricing between a 3G dongle and the new LTE 4G dongle that delivers 2G, 3G and 4G capability.
“If a 4G network is not available a consumer will get 3G on the Next G network” Bray said.
Bray said that Customers trialling Telstra 4G have told Telstra that it is already changing how they connect and work. For example, a sports photographer in Melbourne is now sending his high-resolution footy images direct to newspapers from the boundary line faster than ever. In Sydney, video producers are handling larger video files on the go and saving time in the process. In regional Australia, a skin cancer doctor has increased the quality of his medical capability.
Using the Telstra USB 4G mobile broadband modem, which goes on sale today, customers in 4G coverage areas can now get access to download speeds ranging from 2Mbps to 40Mbps – up to ten times faster than 3G speeds currently claimed by other Australian telecommunications companies. Customers can also experience typical upload speeds of 1Mbps to 10Mbps – three times faster than previous generations of mobile broadband in Australia.
Network latency (the time it takes for data to travel from a PC to the internet and back) is around half that experienced on current 3G networks meaning real-time applications like video conferencing, internet gaming and cloud-hosted streaming services work better with less buffering and fewer interruptions claims Telstra.
Telstra also announced that it would launch 4G services in more than 50 additional locations by year’s end.
4G Plans and Pricing
The BigPond USB 4G can be purchased by consumer customers for $0 (after rebate) on a range of new 24 month plans – including on a $49.95 per month plan with 4GB of data included each month over 24 months.
(min cost $1,198.80).
The Telstra USB 4G can be purchased by business customers on a range of plans including $0 upfront on the $39 Telstra Mobile Broadband Standard Plan over 24 months (min total cost $936) with 4GB included data.