Telstra announces 4G network

Telstra has today announced its plan to upgrade its Next G network with 4G technology later in 2011.

The significance of the upgrade is that it will give mobile users on the network the possibility of download limits of 100mb/s for moving users (traveling on a train for instance), and 1Gb/s for stationary users.

David Thodey, CEO of the company announced the plan to upgrade at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, noting that the company will upgrade its existing Next G network with Long Term Evolution technology in the central business districts of each Australian capital city, along with some regional centers by the end of the year.

“Telstra is proud to again be a technology leader, providing Australians with leading-edge mobile broadband services on the world’s largest national mobile network,” Mr. Thodey said.

“The technology can provide many Australians with faster data speeds, high-quality video conferencing, and faster response times when using mobile applications or accessing the internet.

“It can also help Telstra meet the demand for mobile data, which is doubling every year as customers move to adopt data-hungry smartphones, mobile modems, and tablets,” Mr. Thodey said.

The upgrade will make use of Telstra’s existing 1800MHz spectrum to deliver 4G capabilities to areas that have the greatest demand for traffic. It will also be integrated with the telco’s existing HSPA+ service, which operates on an 850MHz spectrum range.

The company has also announced its plans to sell ‘dual mode’ LTE/HSPA+ handsets that can operate on both spectrum ranges, to enable wider spread use of the 4G network. Telstra insists that the quality of coverage will not change for those who do not upgrade these phones.

“We see the integration of LTE technology into the Next G™ network as a way to continue to deliver high-quality services and meet growing customer demand, and we are very happy to bring this service to Australia thanks to a partnership with our long-time collaborators Ericsson, Sierra Wireless and Qualcomm,” Mr. Thodey said.

It would appear that phone manufacturer Ericsson will be delivering the handsets, given that the company’s CEO, Hans Vestberg, also commented at the conference:

“Ericsson and Telstra have a long history of innovative network partnership and we are proud to bring the next generation of mobile broadband to Australia. Telstra’s Next G™ network is globally recognized as an advanced, world-class service and LTE will enable Telstra to continue to deliver a superior end-user experience for both existing and future Next G™ subscribers.”

President and chief executive officer of Sierra Wireless, Jason Cohenour said: “Telstra’s planned upgrade to LTE technology is an exciting development that reaffirms the company and Australia as a world leader in high-speed, high-quality mobile broadband connectivity. We are thrilled to continue our longstanding collaboration with Telstra, Ericsson, and Qualcomm to push mobile broadband technology forward and to provide LTE devices for the network.”

In related news, Research in Motion, manufacturers of the popular, business-focused BlackBerry handsets, has announced the addition of two new devices to its forthcoming range of BlackBerry 4G PlayBook tablets. The devices will be 4G enabled, and will be designed specifically for use on LTE and HSPA+ networks, those specified by Telstra for the implementation of its 4G upgrade later in the year.

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