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Telstra's Category 9 4G will service new Samsung devices

Samsung's newly announced GS6 Edge+ and Note 5 are compatible with Telstra's super-fast 4G LTE-Advanced network, with users able to attain speeds of up to 450Mbps.

Telstra has announced that the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ and the Galaxy Note 5, launched in New York on Thursday, will be the first devices to work across the telco's Category 9 4G network.

Category 9 devices use three LTE channels across the 700MHz, 1800MHz, and 2600MHz spectrum bands to achieve download speeds of up to 450Mbps.

"That means people can enjoy their favourite content with fewer slowdowns, even in peak hour or in crowded places like at shops or on the bus," Mike Wright, group managing director for Networks, wrote in a blog post on Friday.

"Both Samsung devices will be 4GX (Cat 9) compatible, and are capable of the fastest 4G speeds in Australia in selected 4GX areas. They're primed to support our customers' ever-expanding love of apps, music streaming, and the growth in mobile video."

Samsung Electronics CEO JK Shin agreed, saying: "we're using our smartphones in two ways -- as multimedia users and multitaskers".

Telstra had originally stated at Mobile World Congress in March that it would be releasing Cat-9 devices from April.

"We expect to bring a Cat-9 smartphone to the market by the end of the year," Telstra's head of products Warwick Bray said at the event.

The telco on Friday added that it would release a Netgear Category 9 mobile broadband Wi-Fi device by the end of the year.

"The battery-powered mobile hotspot from Netgear can operate continuously for up to 11 hours, supports a data usage meter, and can share a 4G connection with up to 10 devices simultaneously, making it possible to enjoy the performance benefits of our up-rated network performance on existing Wi-Fi enabled tablets, laptops and smartphones," Wright said.

Telstra confirmed on Thursday that a 5G network will be launched by the end of the decade, and is expected to provide speeds of up to 10GB per second.

"[5G] addresses the world of an 'Internet of Things'," Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said. "You can imagine a world in 2020, where almost anything that could be connected will be connected."

The launch of its 4G+ and 5G networks marks a trend in the increasing popularity of data over voice; Telstra said over a year ago that it would be shutting down its 2G network by the end of 2016.

"We have seen steep declines in the number of customers on 2G to the point where today, 2G traffic accounts for less than 1 per cent of our total network traffic [and] we have not sold a 2G phone for several years," Wright said in July last year.

Telstra on Thursday announced its results for the 2014-15 financial year, reporting a net profit after tax of AU$4.29 billion, down AU$260 million or 5.8 percent year on year from last year's AU$4.55 billion. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) decreased by 3.5 percent, down from AU$11.1 billion to AU$10.7 billion.

The telco added 113,000 post-paid handheld retail customers in the year, bringing its total to 7.3 million customers, with revenue in this sector increasing by 7.7 percent to AU$5.4 billion. Average revenue per user (ARPU) increased by 5.5 percent, from AU$58.70 to AU$61.94.

Prepaid handheld revenue increased by 13.1 percent, to AU$994 million, while its machine-to-machine business grew by 11.9 percent, to AU$113 million.

Telstra said its national 4G network now provides coverage to 94 percent of the population, with the telco continuing its 4G network expansion in order to service 99 percent of Australians. As of the end of the financial year, Telstra has 7.7 million 4G devices on its network.

It noted that growth will increase next financial year thanks to the launch of its AU$100 million "Telstra Air" national Wi-Fi network in June. Last month, during his inaugural keynote address as new CEO of Telstra, Andrew Penn also committed to increasing the company's mobile network capex by investing AU$500 million into it over the next two years.

Telstra's main rival Optus also announced its financial results on Thursday, with news that it had increased its net profit by 19.5 percent for the quarter ending June 2015, from AU$164 million last year to AU$196 million this year.

Vodafone Australia's results were less positive, with the telco announcing in July a net loss of AU$183.6 million for the first half of 2015, up 13.3 percent from the AU$158.6 million loss in the same period last year. The company reported total revenue of AU$1.77 billion, a year-on-year increase of 2.9 percent.

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