Telstra is set to become the first Australian telecommunications provider to offer Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile network, planning an upgrade of its Next G network in select cities by the end of 2011.
An LTE dongle (Credit: Telstra)
The plan was announced by Telstra CEO David Thodey at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain today. Thodey said the company will upgrade its Next G network in the central business districts of all capital cities in Australia, as well as a number of regional cities by the end of this year.
"Telstra is proud to again be a technology leader, providing Australians with leading-edge mobile broadband services on the world's largest national mobile network," Thodey said in a statement accompanying the announcement.
"The technology can provide many Australians with faster data speeds, high-quality video-conferencing and faster response times when using mobile applications or accessing the internet.
"It can also help Telstra meet demand for mobile data, which is doubling every year as customers move to adopt data-hungry smartphones, mobile modems and tablets," Thodey added.
At the company's half-yearly results last week, Thodey revealed that the company had added nearly 1 million new mobile customers in the last half of 2010, with almost 70 per cent of these customers using smartphones.
The telecommunications giant will use its existing 1800MHz spectrum for LTE, integrated with Telstra's existing 850MHz high-speed packet access service — a world-first, according to the company.
The telco will offer mobile broadband dongles for customers to access this service in places where it is available. The upgrade will not impact the services for customers who do not wish to upgrade, Telstra said.
"We see the integration of LTE technology into the Next G network as a way to continue to deliver high-quality services and meet growing customer demand, and we are very happy to bring this service to Australia," Thodey said.
The plan is in partnership with technology providers Ericsson, Sierra Wireless and Qualcomm. Over the past few months the company had been trialling various LTE technologies with Ericsson, Nokia Siemens and Huawei.
According to Ericsson, it will be responsible for deploying all LTE radio sites with the new multi-standard radio base station. The company will also upgrade Telstra's existing packet core network to support the new LTE radio network. The company declined to reveal the value of the deal.