Media Release, 11 September 2014

Australians will soon have access to one of the fastest mobile networks in the world, with Telstra accelerating the launch of 4G services on the newly available 700 MHz band.

In plans unveiled today, Telstra will:

  • Expand total 4G coverage to reach 90 per cent of the Australian population by the end of January 2015.
  • Switch on 4G on 700 MHz services on 1 January 2015 to cover a three kilometre radius of all capital CBDs and 50 regional locations.
  • 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.
  • Offer significantly faster 4G speeds than currently available on the Telstra mobile network to customers in enabled areas with 700 MHz compatible devices.
  • Aim to have more than 1 million 700 MHz ready devices in customers’ hands by the end of year.

Chief Operations Officer Kate McKenzie said Telstra’s $1.3bn 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,” Ms McKenzie said.

“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.”

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.

Where it’s added to Telstra’s existing 4G footprint, the new spectrum will double Telstra’s existing 4G capacity, offer 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. Typical user speeds will be lower depending on location, device and other factors.

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 Ms 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.”

*Telstra acquired 2×20 MHz blocks of the 700 MHz band. Optus acquired 2 X 10 MHz blocks of the 700 MHz band.

**Commercial trials have commenced in selected parts of Perth, Fremantle, Esperance, Mildura, Mt Isa and Griffith.

Note: Once fully enabled in 2015, Telstra will have the world’s largest 150Mbps peak network speed capable APT700MHz mobile network by coverage area, and the world’s largest coverage area that supports peak network speeds of up to 300Mbps on Category 6 devices.