Telstra yesterday confirmed a story in industry publication Communications Day that, unexpected new entrant to the market, Samsung will deploy long-term evolution (LTE) infrastructure in Brisbane, Queensland, as part of Telstra's 4G roll-out.
"We are preparing to trial Samsung equipment in Brisbane in the coming weeks," said Telstra in a statement.
Telstra said that its mobile network partner for the roll-out is still Ericsson, and that the company has no other supplier contracts for its commercial LTE service at this point.
The revelation comes just a week after Samsung was picked by Three Mobile in the United Kingdom to deploy its LTE Radio Access Network and core network infrastructure, marking the company's first European commercial mobile network roll-out.
The trial with Telstra is believed to be Samsung's first entry into the Australian market for LTE, but the company has worked with telcos in the US, Japan and Saudi Arabia on LTE roll-outs.
The news comes as Telstra ramps up its 4G roll-out. The telco giant told journalists this week that it is expecting to reach 66.6 per cent of the population by June 2013, up from 40 per cent today.
The telco already has 500,000 connected devices on its LTE network, and is pushing forward with its AU$1.2 billion investment in network upgrades. The LTE roll-out is being seen as an aggressive move to capture as much of the 4G market before Optus launches its consumer 4G services in Sydney, Perth and Melbourne in the coming weeks.
Telstra's announcement this week was directly targeted at Optus. For example, Optus has its 4G network open for business customers in Sydney's CBD over a 10km radius. Telstra was quick to point out this week that its own network now expands out to between 10 to 15km from the CBD, up from its original 5km radius.
Telstra also shut down its shared 3G network with Vodafone, 3GIS, at 10am AEST this morning. Telstra's executive director of networks, Mike Wright, said that the company had been preparing for this for two years.
"Our team has been preparing for this change for two years, and nothing has been left to chance. Customers have been individually contacted to remind them of the network changes," he said.
"Most customers who remain on the old network use their phone for basic talk and text, and they'll still be able to access these services on their current devices in Telstra's 2G coverage areas."
He said that customers who were using 3G on the 3GIS 2100MHz spectrum band are encouraged to pick up a device that is compatible with Telstra's 850MHz 3G network.