Telstra launches commercial LTE services ahead of schedule

27 Sep 2011

Australia’s largest mobile network operator by subscriber, Telstra, has announced that its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network is now commercially available in all capital business districts (CBDs), associated airports and selected regional locations. The development comes less than a month after Telstra began offering USB modems designed to take advantage of the in-deployment 4G infrastructure; as previously reported by CommsUpdate, the operator said it would initially make available around 2,000 of its 4G modems to business and enterprise customers as part of a limited rollout of services ahead of a wider commercial launch. Looking forward, Telstra has said that it expects to add an additional 50 locations to its LTE coverage footprint by the end of 2011. Commenting on the development, Telstra CEO David Thodey noted: ‘Today marks a new high speed chapter in Australian mobile telecommunications. Telstra’s 4G network delivers mobile speeds scarcely imagined a decade ago, making it easier for people to connect with the things they need and love when on the move.’

With services initially only available via USB modem, customers can sign up for the service and get the BigPond USB modem for free on a number of 24-month contract tariffs, with the lowest of such options offering a 4GB data usage allowance for AUD49.95 (USD48.72) per month. Those subscribers that wish to buy the operator’s 4G modem without signing up for a two-year contract will need to pay AUD299 for the device. With regards to Telstra introducing other LTE-compatible equipment, Mr Thodey said: ‘We know there is a huge appetite for 4G-powered smartphones and tablets and Telstra is working with some of the world’s leading manufacturers to bring some of these devices to customers in the first half of 2012.’

The launch locations for Telstra’s 4G network, according to iTnews, are:

New South Wales: Sydney (and airport), Parramatta, Albury/Wodonga, Dubbo, Gosford, Newcastle

Australian Capital Territory (ACT): Canberra (and airport)

Victoria: Melbourne (and Tullamarine Airport), Ballarat, Castlemaine, Echucha, Geelong, Horsham, Morwell, Shepparton, Nyah/Nyah West, Lake Boga, Warragul, Werribee

Queensland: Brisbane (and airport), Bundaberg, Cairns, Coolangatta Airport, Tweed, Nerang, Gympie, Maryborough, Mt Isa, Caloundra, Noosa Heads, Toowoomba, Townsville

South Australia: Adelaide (and airport), Mt Barker, Port Lincoln, Stirling

Western Australia: Perth (and airport)

Northern Territory: Darwin (and airport)

Australia, Telstra (incl. Belong), Telstra Mobile