Under its $1.1 billion contract announced yesterday, Ericsson has agreed to provide and manage an LTE (long-term evolution), or 4G, wireless broadband network, providing a minimum 12Mbps download and 1Mbps upload service to regional and rural Australia.
First households will start accessing the service from mid-2012 with the full network due to completion by 2015.
While LTE is capable of average speeds of 70Mbps and peaks of up to 150Mbps, fixed mobile bandwidth is shared among cell users, meaning it slows as more are added.
NBN Co’s Kevin Brown said the fixed service had been chosen because it allows NBN Co to plan a network for a more predictable number of users in a given area, giving greater consistency in quality and speed of service.
NBN Co said it will need to install new towers in regional areas where broadband and mobile infrastructure does not currently exist.
Ericsson will design, build, operate and maintain the network, including business support systems. This includes service activation, management and assurance as well as network performance and capacity management. It will also handle construction, installation, commissioning and learning services.
The network is to be built using 2.3GHz bandwidth, the bulk of which NBN Co purchased from Austar in February. Spectrum has still to be acquired for WA and the Northern Territory.