Telstra and Huawei have claimed some of the fastest downlink speeds to date using the long term evolution (LTE) fourth generation mobile standard, achieving nearly 150 megabits per second (Mbps) over the trial network.
The results come after the pair conducted a six-month trial of the LTE standard, viewed as the long-term upgrade path for Australia's mobile networks. Telstra registered peak speeds of 149.4Mbps using the 1800MHz spectrum during the effort.
The trial tested the performance of Multiple-Input and Multiple-Output (MIMO) antennae configurations, while managing network interference to improve its speed.
Telstra executive director for Networks & Access Technologies, Mike Wright, said the trial had been important in testing the technology's limits and performance.
“As a technology, LTE has some unique characteristics that result in improved radio network capability and efficiency such as improved capacity and speed,” Wright said in a statement.
Telstra and Huawei confirmed plans for the trial in March and began testing the new technology in May in two different environments. The first trial was conducted in a controlled laboratory using 20MHz of bandwidth in the 1800MHz band, while the second was in the field using 10MHz of spectrum.
The telco has already continued extensive testing of the standard with vendors Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks, the latter of which announced record performance of 100Mbps over a 75km distance using the 2600Mhz band in June.
The telco also recorded peak uplink speeds reaching 59Mbps in the controlled environment. Field trials, which used a 10MHz block of spectrum, reached peak downlink speeds of 69.3Mbps and uplink speeds of 24Mbps.
Huawei Australia CTO, Peter Rossi, said the results showed the feasibility of using 1800MHz spectrum to roll out LTE in future.
“As mobile customers move away from 2G services and onto 3G and LTE, 1800MHz spectrum will increasingly become available to be re-farmed by operators," he said. “The overwhelming success of these trials shows that 1800MHz can be an attractive option for deploying LTE, where access to other spectrum bands is constrained."
The trial was conducted in the Box Hill area, near Melbourne. The pair said the trial helped to test key criteria including cell-handover, propagation and latency performance.
Both of Telstra's major Australian rivals, Optus and VHA, are also conducting LTE trials, also using Huawei hardware. Neither telco has explicitly stated in recent months what the current peak speeds of their existing networks are, but Telstra's Next G network is known to support peak theoretical speeds of up to 42Mbps in some areas, with plans for an upgrade to 84Mbps next year.