Australia’s largest cellco by subscribers, Telstra, has said it is accelerating plans to launch 4G services using 700MHz frequencies, while also boosting its existing infrastructure. According to the operator, it is now aiming to: expand total 4G coverage to 90% of the population by end-January 2015; switch on its LTE-700MHz network on 1 January 2015 to cover a three kilometre radius of all capital central business districts (CBDs) and 50 regional locations; and expand commercial trials of 700MHz services to a further 20 metropolitan and regional centres in the lead up to January, with selected areas of Sydney, Adelaide, Darwin, Bundaberg, Yamba and Sarina coming online next week. Telstra has said it expects to be able to offer significantly faster 4G speeds than currently available on its network to customers with 700MHz compatible devices in those areas where it does enable the 700MHz spectrum band for LTE use; by the end of 2014 the cellco aims to have more than one million 700MHz-ready LTE devices in customer hands.
With Telstra reportedly expecting to invest AUD1.3 billion (USD1.22 billion) to achieve its goals, the company’s chief operations officer Kate McKenzie was cited as saying: ‘Our customers are relying on mobile broadband more than ever … We’re staying ahead of this demand by using the 700MHz 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.’