Australian mobile network operator Telstra is reportedly planning to halt development of its LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) network using its 900MHz and 1800MHz spectrum holdings, with it instead looking to pair the latter with its recently acquired 700MHz frequencies.
According to iTnews, although Telstra’s first round trials of LTE carrier aggregation – carried out in July 2013 – combined 900MHz and 1800MHz spectrum, the operator has opted not to extend this first implementation of the technology. Instead, it will reportedly focus on coupling the two 20MHz blocks of 700MHz spectrum it secured via auction in May 2013. ‘The 900MHz and 1800MHz service is still operational in a number of locations, including the Sunshine Coast, but will not be expanded as we focus on the use of 700MHz and 1800MHz,’ an unnamed Telstra spokesperson confirmed, adding: ‘Our intention for carrier aggregation was always to focus on 1800MHz and 700MHz – hence the purchase of the additional 700 MHz spectrum.’
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in July 2014 Telstra launched commercial trials of LTE-based services using the 700MHz band, using 20MHz of spectrum in that band at customers in six locations, those being: Perth, Fremantle, Esperance, Mildura, Mt Isa and Griffith. Looking ahead, Telstra said it was expecting to roll out 4G 700MHz services in a ‘range of cities and regional centres’ from January 2015. Alongside this, Telstra also outlined plans to test LTE-A technology, combining the spectrum it has in the 700MHz and 1800MHz to offer even faster downlink speeds, enhance capacity and again provide better indoor coverage.