Telstra and HTC have jointly unveiled Australia's first 4G smartphone, while the telco has promised that a handful of 4G-capable smartphones and tablets will be released in the country by mid-2012.
At a media launch in Sydney last night Telstra and HTC jointly released the Velocity 4G, Australia's first 4G capable smartphone. The device officially goes on sale today and promises mobile data speeds of up to five times faster than Telstra's current Next G network.
Telstra's 4G network, which uses the LTE 1800MHz band, should provide typical download speeds of between 2 megabits per second (Mbps) and 40Mbps, and typical upload speeds of between 1Mbps and 10Mbps. Current 4G coverage stretches across all eight capital cities (5km from GPO) and their respective airports in Australia, along with 80 regional and metropolitan centres (3km from city centre).
The 4G network is best described as an LTE-enablement of the company's Next G HSDPA+ network — if 4G is not available, the HTC Velocity 4G will "switch across" to the Next G network.
Aside from it's 4G capabilities, the HTC Velocity 4G has a large 4.5in qHD touchscreen with a resolution of 540x960, a 1.5GHz dual core processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal memory and an 8-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash. It will initially ship with the 2.3 "Gingerbread" version of Google's Android OS, though Telstra has confirmed the phone will be upgraded to the latest 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" version of Android "within six weeks".
The HTC Velocity 4G is just the second product to work on Telstra's 4G network, following the launch of the 4G USB modem in September last year. However, Telstra director Andrew Volard confirmed the telco will launch four 4G smartphones and at least one 4G tablet by the middle of this year. Samsung's Galaxy Tab 8.9 Android tablet and the Samsung Galaxy Note Android phone have been rumoured 4G models, though Telstra refused to speculate further only saying the devices are "in development".
The HTC Velocity 4G is available for $0 upfront on Telstra's $79 Freedom Connect plan, which includes $800 worth of calls and MMS, unlimited SMS and 2GB of data per month. month. The Velocity 4G is also available on a number of business plans.