Telstra to expand 4G coverage, reach 90% by Jan 2015

Telstra is accelerating the launch of 4G services on the newly available 700 MHz band and plans to provide 90 percent coverage by January, 2015.

The company is planning to expand commercial trials of 700 MHz services to more than 20 additional metropolitan and regional centers in the lead up to January, with selected areas of Sydney, Adelaide, Darwin, Bundaberg, Yamba and Sarina, to come online next week.

Kate McKenzie, chief operations officer said, “Telstra’s $1.3 bn investment to add 700 MHz and 2600 MHz spectrum to Telstra’s 4G service was a major investment designed to ensure customers continue to enjoy the best coverage, network reliability and consistently fast speeds as more activity, more people, and more devices come onto Telstra’s network.”

“Our customers are relying on mobile broadband more than ever. The explosion in applications, shift towards mobile video consumption and use of mobile in commerce means demand for connectivity continues to grow strongly,” says McKenzie.

“We’re staying ahead of this demand by using the 700 MHz band and aggregation techniques to massively increase network capacity. This will allow us to offer customers, with compatible devices, Australia’s best and most reliable mobile service,” added McKenzie.

Telstra has invested in double the holdings of 700 MHz spectrum than any other carrier. The low band spectrum allows mobile signals to travel further and reach deeper into buildings. The new spectrum will at least double the theoretical peak network speeds than current Telstra 4G services, and provide customers using 700 MHz capable devices in 700 MHz enabled areas faster and more reliable speeds.

Telstra will also expand the use of carrier aggregation services – combining the 700 MHz and 1800 MHz bands – giving customers with compatible devices theoretical peak network speeds up to 300 Mbps.

The availability of 4G 700 services is being brought forward in a number of locations through a series of 4G 700 commercial trials, and from next week Telstra will switch on services in parts of Sydney, Adelaide, Darwin, Bundaberg, Yamba and Sarina. As many as 20 additional metropolitan and regional centres are expected to benefit from early access in the lead up to January.

Telstra will also continue to invest in additional 4G sites on 1800 MHz and 2600 MHz spectrum, to further boost 4G capacity and speeds where customer demand is high.

The network upgrade makes 700 MHz compatibility a must-have feature for anyone looking to update their smartphone or wireless broadband device.

Almost all of this summer’s most sought-after smartphones, tablets and mobile broadband devices are set to be 700-ready, with a total of 20 devices expected to be in Telstra’s range by Christmas.

“We have been working with the industry and global carriers to drive the use of 4G 700 and set it as the standard for 4G services of the future. That will allow us to assemble a wide range of 700-ready compatible devices ahead of full-launch in January,” said McKenzie.

“Over a million customers are expected to have a 700 MHz ready device by the end of the year, which will allow them to experience improved coverage and speed as soon as services are switched on in their area,” added McKenzie.

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