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Media Release
15 February 2011

Australians will again be at the leading edge of mobile telecommunications with Telstra today unveiling plans to upgrade its Next G™ network with 4G technology later this year.

Announcing the plan at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Chief Executive Officer David Thodey said the company plans to upgrade its existing Next G™ network with Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology in the central business districts of all Australian capital cities and selected regional centres by the end of 2011.

“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 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 planned upgrade will use the company’s existing 1800MHz spectrum to bring 4G to areas where traffic demand is most concentrated.  It will be integrated with Telstra’s existing HSPA+ service, which uses the 850MHz spectrum range.

By the end of 2011 Telstra plans to sell dual mode LTE/HSPA+ mobile broadband devices that operate seamlessly across the 1800MHz and 850MHz spectrum ranges, giving customers the benefits of 4G where it is available.  However, there will be no change in the quality or coverage footprint for customers who do not wish to upgrade their devices.

The planned upgrade will not require incremental investment to existing plans, instead being funded from Telstra’s existing budget for capital expenditure.

“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.

Ericsson President and CEO, Hans Vestberg said: “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.”

Mr Thodey confirmed that, as well as deploying 4G, Telstra would also upgrade parts of its network over time with next-generation HSPA+ technologies.  These upgrades will provide customers in other parts of Australia with 4G-like services using Telstra’s 850MHz spectrum.

In line with Telstra’s longstanding record as a technology leader, Telstra is working with leading network, chipset and device vendors, in conjunction with the Global Suppliers Association and the GSM Association, to establish a global industry group to champion and guide the development of the 4G ecosystem at 1800MHz.

Telstra and Ericsson will feature in a GSMA-hosted seminar during the Mobile World Congress to show how an integrated LTE and HSPA+ network can be effectively and economically deployed by operators.  The seminar will take place on Thursday, 17 February from 10:00am at Mezzanine level Hall 2­, Sala D.

 

Reference Number: 45/2011

 

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