Telstra is set to deploy its “4G” LTE broadband network in Australia.
At the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, Spain, Telstra CEO, David Thodey, revealed plans to upgrade its Next G network in Australia capital cities and selected regional centres with LTE technology by year’s end.
LTE will bring faster download speeds to customers.
Telstra will use its existing 1800MHz spectrum in the implementation which will be integrated with Telstra’s 850MHz spectrum HSPA+ service.
The upgrade will come out of the telco’s existing capital expenditure budget.
The telco cited the surge in mobile data consumption especially through smartphones, mobile modems and tablets as reasons for the decision. It is expecting to sell dual mode LTE and HSPA+ compatible devices by the end of the year but customers that chose not to purchase new devices will be unaffected.
“We are expecting user experience speeds greater than our current Telstra Ultimate device (up to 20Mbps) but beyond that we will have to await further testing and deployment,” a Telstra spokesperson said via email.
While Telstra touted the network as 4G, LTE actually falls short of full compliance with the standard. However, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) recently announced LTE may be class as 4G provided the technology gave a "substantial level of improvement in performance capabilities with respect to the initial third generation systems deployed".
Telstra will also systematically upgrade other parts of its existing network to HSPA+.
The telco will be deploying Full Duplex LTE rather than Time Division Duplex LTE (TD-LTE).
Perth-based ISP, Vividwireless, announced last week it was to rollout Huawei’s TD-LTE wireless broadband system in the next 18 months. The aim is to provide east coast customers with 40-70Mbps download speeds.
Gartner mobile and wireless research director, Robin Simpson, said while LTE used two frequencies for two-way communication, TD-LTE only required one.
LTE has been criticised by for requiring expensive large-scale infrastructure investment.
In related news, Telstra has suffered a profit loss of 35.6 per cent to $1.2 billion and a 13.9 per cent drop in EBITDA to $4.58b year on year for its 2010 financial year.
It has also yet to release a draft for its $11 billion deal with NBNCo subjected to shareholders approval by July 1.
More to follow.