UPDATED: 4G in Australia: The state of the nation

Telstra has a head start but Vodafone is spectrum rich.

Updated 7 October 2014: The top three Australian carriers are spending billions upgrading their networks to high-speed 4G LTE services. Here is the latest information on each telco's progress.

Also see:
How fast are HSPA+ and LTE in Australia?
Australian government misses $1 billion in Digital Dividend auction

Telstra 4G

Telstra reported in June 2014 that its 4G network now covers 87 per cent of the Australian population and expects to exceed 90 per cent in 2015.

In addition to the capital cities, the Telstra 4G network covers more than 300 regional towns. In October 2013, the telco reported that it had connected 3.2 million 4G devices.

The No. 1 telco has a large head start on 4G rollout, having launched LTE services in September 2011.

Telstra has stated plans in 2014 to turn to upgrading the network to even faster LTE-Advanced technology and deploying new spectrum to add more capacity, speed and reliability.

Telstra had before said it would invest $500 million over 2013 and 2014, including on its mobile network.

Telstra operates frequency-division (FD) LTE on the 1800MHz spectrum band. It currently has 20MHz of contiguous spectrum in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, and 15MHz in Sydney and Melbourne. By comparison, Vodafone Hutchison Australia has 20MHz in all five cities, but its coverage is limited to those cities.

Telstra spent $1.3 billion in April's Digital Dividend auction, taking most of the 700MHz and 2.5GHz spectrum available. It bought 2x20MHz of the 700MHz spectrum and 2x40MHz of the 2.5GHz. The spectrum is expected to increase the carrier's 4G coverage and capacity.

In a test of the 700MHz spectrum in Perth, Telstra reached 235Mbps download speeds on a Category 6 (Cat 6) device.

On 21 July 2014, Telstra announced a commercial pilot of its 700MHz spectrum in Perth, Fremantle and Esperance in Western Australia; Mildura, Victoria; Mt Isa, Queensland; and Griffith, New South Wales.

Telstra will turn on its 700MHz network in more locations starting January 2015.

Telstra has also announced plans to refarm low-frequency 900MHz spectrum for 4G. The telco is testing that first in north Brisbane and considering deployments in other regional areas. When they are released in the future, 4G devices supporting LTE Advanced will be able to combine the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands for extra capacity.

Telstra is also currently testing LTE Broadcast technology, which would allow the telco to broadcast one video stream to multiple people at the same time. That approach would be more efficient than the current method in which video is streamed separately to each customer.

Some analysts say Telstra’s early rollout of LTE likely will keep the telco ahead of the competition.

“With accelerated investment in the LTE network, we believe Telstra’s mobile rivals will find it difficult to challenge Telstra’s network superiority,” Ovum analyst David Kennedy said recently. “They will need to pursue strategies as `alternative’ providers to Telstra.”

Next page: Optus and Vodafone 4G

Tags 4gAustraliacoverageoptusmobileTelstraVodafone Hutchison Australia

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13 Comments

Nimos

1

and NBN Co?
They are also deploying 4G TD-LTE.

Jeremy

2

When are Telstra going to move to an Apple compatible 4G though?

Walter Leiska

3

I will not move to Telstra 4G network until I can use Apple products.

Steven

4

The iPhone 5 already works on Telstra 4G and the new 4th gen iPad will too (cellular models due late November). The only Apple "4G" product that doesn't work is the third gen iPad, due to the limited set of frequencies it supports for LTE. They have the same problem in the UK. The supported frequencies on the iPad 3 were basically selected to suit the US market, not the rest of the world.

john

5

Optus also has 4G in Adelaide CBD

Dennis

6

"When are Telstra going to move to an Apple compatible 4G though?"

Yeah, when are they going to re do their whole network for one model of Ipad?!

Come on Telstra, you should invest billions to make the apple clones happy!

Nathan

7

This post isn't really true to the fact. Optus has reported faster 4G speeds and has the largest 4G metro footprint in the country. Voda may have 20 mhz of Spectrum. It doesn't count as being anywhere near the spectrum available to Telstra and also Optus who hasn't even touched their 2300 spectrum with 98mhz untapped! Let's research a little better next time.

ss

8

Mr Rickerby

Nips

9

"Optus has reported faster 4G speeds and has the largest 4G metro footprint in the country." - Nathan

Lol wut? Of course they would report that but in reality none of that couldnt be further from the truth.

Me N Roll

10

Welcome to Me N Roll, a hub of Fusion food in Japanese and western food. Here you can get food of your own choice and taste. Rice Wines, sake and freshly prepared Western and Asian food is available all the time.

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Mr Alex

11

Hey nips
look at this, my home 34km from Perth CBD on Optus.
LOL? 66ms ping, 60 down 13 up
http://www.speedtest.net/wp/5451999.png
I think Nathan is right. In the cbd I have hit 55ms 84/26.

Mr Alex

12

Nips, can you please post your speed test results ?
you have an opinion on Optus, so interested in why you feel this is not your experience

Chris

13

#1 - NBN Co are using LTE but its on a fixed wireless network, not a mobile network. very different things.

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