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Telstra on track for 4G LTE in 2011

Capital city CBDs and selected regional areas will be using Long Term Evolutionary (LTE) by year's end, Telstra says

Telstra has confirmed plans to leapfrog its competition are on track, with the commercial deployment of Long Term Evolutionary (LTE) technology into its wireless network by the year’s end.

In line with its February announcement, the telco said it will switch on 4G base stations in the central business districts of Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane, and selected regional centres by the end of 2011.

The company is partnering with Ericsson to roll out the LTE network, with Sierra Wireless developing the dual-mode mobile broadband devices. Telstra conducted LTE trials with Ericsson last year, which yielded consistent speeds above 80Mbps.

Telstra intends to sell dual-mode LTE/HSPA+ mobile broadband devices that will operate across the 1800MHz — now available due to the migration of the majority of its 2G customers to Next G — and 850MHz spectrum bands.

The news will likely not be warmly met by vividwireless, whose executive, Martin Mercer, earlier this year dismissed the ability of Telstra’s announced Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, claiming the telco’s plans to operate the network in the 1800MHz spectrum band will result in network speeds matching only that of vividwireless’ WiMax network.

“Telstra has announced they’re going to do LTE in the 1800 band, which means they’re going to have to re-farm a fair bit of 1800 to allow them to potentially hold together a pair of 10MHz channels,” Mercer said to attendees at the CommsDay Summit 2011.

According to Mercer, 4G World would demand at least 10MHz channels, or ideally 20MHz channels.

“But that means that their 10MHz channels or their LTE network will run as fast as our WiMax network because our network uses 10MHz channels and speed really is a function of how much spectrum you’re prepared to throw at it,” he said.

For its part, vividwireless plans to commence the nationwide rollout of a Time Division Duplex Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE) network by the end of this year.

Detailing the LTE announcement, Telstra Networks & Access Technologies executive director, Mike Wright, said the telco's 3G network is under pressure due to the doubling of data usage every year and more than a million mobile and wireless broadband customers signing up.

“The increased network capacity LTE will provide is vital,” he said in a statement.

"... The biggest benefit it will bring is additional capacity, meaning more customers can do more things on the network at the same time.”

The LTE upgrade will also provide faster data speeds, high quality video conferencing and faster response times for mobile applications and internet site access.

Follow Tim Lohman on Twitter: @Tlohman

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

Tags lte4gmobilityNetworkingwirelessVividWirelessTelstraTelecommunications

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