Telstra has today launched its much vaunted AUD1 billion (USD746 million) HSDPA mobile broadband network, three months ahead of schedule. The new infrastructure – which it claims to be the largest of its type in the world – has been rolled out in the 850MHz frequency band to cover over a quarter of Australia’s landmass and more than 98% of the population. Rollout was completed in just ten months. Offered under the banner NEXT G, the new network carries twelve Foxtel television channels and sport and movie downloads at speeds up to five times faster than any other 3G network in the country. ‘From today, almost every Australian is going to have access to nationwide, very high speed mobiles and internet,’ Telstra group managing director consumer and small business David Moffatt said. ‘It is a versatile, high capacity network with head room for higher speeds in the months and years ahead, chief executive Sol Trujillo added. According to Telstra, NEXT G customers will experience network download speeds averaging between 550kbps and 1.5Mbps, with peak network speeds of up to 3.6Mbps, a figure which is expected to rise to 14.4Mbps early next year. Telstra will now begin to migrate its 1.7 million CDMA mobile customers to the NEXT G network by January 2008.
According to the GSM Association, of the 123 W-CDMA networks in operation in 55 countries, more than half are HSDPA enabled. Australia is the 39th country to go live with the technology and Telstra the 64th network to commence HSDPA-based commercial services. More than 58 HSDPA-enabled devices have been launched by 18 suppliers, according to the GSA – which represents global mobile industry manufacturers. Sixteen of these devices operate in the 850 MHz frequency band, in support of network deployments such as Telstra’s.