Vividwireless will start a war between competing fast wireless broadband technologies when it kicks off what it says will be the first trial of its kind in Australia.
The company will test a TD-LTE (Time-Division Duplex Long Term Evolution) network in inner Sydney over the 2.3GHz band and expects to see live speeds in excess of 100Mbps.
Engineers will drive around the suburbs of Redfern and Horsley Park in December to test the "market readiness" of the technology, including its capacity, coverage and speed.
But the trial doesn't signal a move away from the company's investment in so-called 3.5G WiMax, which chairman Ryan Stokes announced to fanfare earlier this year and is in operation in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.
Chief executive Martin Mercer said the trial will "demonstrate the real world capabilities" of TD-LTE but he was was quick to plug the capabilities of WiMax, citing the emergent 802.11m standard.
"It's not about replacing WiMax with LTE; We aren't doing that. This is a trial of [TD-LTE]," Mercer said.
But he acknowledged that once both technologies have been fully tested, there can only be one winner.
"It doesn't make sense to run both networks in parallel," he said. But a fat spectrum bank will allow the telco to stretch out what could be a painful transition for customers if the company swaps technologies.
The locations were chosen to test how the technology fares in high-density city conditions and across suburbia.
Optus clocked 40Mbps downlink under its FD-LTE (Frequency Division LTE) tests in a reasonably dense suburb of Gordon, north of Sydney. Telstra claimed a whopping 100Mbps using the technology across a 75km open stretch in central Victoria between Mount Hope and Mount Burrumboot.
Mercer explained that the difference between TD- and FD-LTE, put simply, is that the former is a natural transition from WiMax whereas the latter technology is suited for High-Speed Data Packet Access (HSDPA) carriers.
Vividwireless will use Huawei's SingleRan kit to support both WiMax and LTE during the trial,
Huawei Australia chief technology officer Peter Rossi said it will "create a smooth transition from WiMax to TD-LTE".