Telstra to release faster 4G devices this year

Category 4 devices are capable of up to 150Mbps, but may be much less in practice.

Two Telstra 4G LTE devices launching later this year will be capable of up to 150Mbps downloads, Telstra has announced. The telco said it plans to launch two “category 4” devices, a Wi-Fi dongle and a handset.

While unlikely the devices will actually reach 150Mbps in real world conditions, the max speed is 50Mbps faster than previous “category 3” 4G devices available today which support up to 100Mbps.

Location of the user, time of day, the number of users on the network and their level of activity are all factors that can reduce the actual speed of the wireless network. Speed is also affected by the bandwidth of the spectrum and the speed of the backhaul connection to the mobile base station.

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

“We currently advise customers that the typical download speeds that a customer experiences using a CAT3 device are between 2Mbps to 40Mbps,” Telstra executive director of networks and access technologies, Mike Wright, wrote on the Telstra blog.

“In our laboratory testing for the new CAT4 devices, we have seen peak device speeds of well over 100 Mbps,” he wrote. “So far in live field trials in Perth and Esperance where we have 20MHz of contiguous spectrum, we’ve seen device speeds of over 90Mbps. However, the speed a customer typically experiences will be across a broad range.

“To gain greatest advantage of the faster speeds of a CAT4 device, it needs to be combined with a 4G network offered over 20MHz of contiguous spectrum.”

Wright said customers may not see much difference downloading or watching HD video at 20Mbps versus 60Mbps. However, he said the upgrades also mean less congestion for customers.

“Increased speed also increases capacity because it means that more of our customers can be on the network at one time, and each have the speeds to support what they are doing.”

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