A leading communications analyst has said that there is a limited market for 4G phones in Australia, after Telstra announced that they will launch the first 4G/LTE smartphone to operate in Australia next week.
The model being launched is the Velocity 4G build by Taiwan-based HTC. The Big T claims Australians in 4G coverage areas will be able to connect to mobile Internet services at up to five times current speeds.
The Velocity 4G sports a 4.5-inch touchscreen, a 1.5 GHz dual core processor and an 8 megapixel camera. It runs on the Telstra Mobile Network, which Telstra likes to stress is “Australia’s first and only 4G LTE-enabled network”.
Independent telecoms analyst Paul Budde told Computer Daily News that, while at this stage there is a limited market for 4G, it is a lucrative one for Telstra.
“Those who do need that level of speed are prepared to pay for it,” Budde said. “Telstra is the only one, so they will capture that market and thus be in a good position to maintain these customers once 4G becomes more mainstream.
“As Telstra is one of the first in this market there are not a lot of handsets available. HTC is one of those early players in the market and therefore also profits from the same advantages, though competition will follow soon.
“Over time 4G will replace 3G in the same way as 3G has largely replaced 2G.”
According to Telstra, customers using the Velocity in 4G coverage areas should experience download speeds ranging from 2Mbps to 40Mbps – up to five times faster than speeds available on Australia’s fastest 3G handsets.
They can also expect typical upload speeds of 1Mbps to 10Mbps – up to three times faster than 3G.
Telstra says that, outside 4G coverage areas, the Velocity 4G switches seamlessly onto Telstra’s 3G mobile network, which reaches 99 per cent of the Australian population.
It says 4G coverage is available in Australia’s eight capital city CBDs (meaning within 5km of the GPO) plus some 80 regional and metropolitan centres (where it extends 3km from the regional town centre).
Consumer customers can purchase the HTC Velocity 4G for zero upfront on Telstra’s $79 monthly Freedom Connect Plan which gives a claimed $800 worth of calls and MMS, unlimited SMS and 2GB of data to standard Australian numbers each month. Minimum cost over 24 months is $1896.
Business customers – natch – are being asked to ante up a little more: they can score a Velocity for zero upfront on a $90/monthly Business Mobile Advantage Member plan which offers $90 worth of national calls, unlimited standard national SMS and 2GB of data. Minimum cost over 24 months is $2160.
Can’t wait? Telstra says customers can now pre-purchase a Velocity online and have the handset delivered to their door from January 24.