A year on from launch, 1 million services and dozens of devices later, long-term evolution (LTE) networks known as 4G have well and truly landed in Australia. Both Optus and Telstra are engaged in a battle for customers, with Vodafone trailing closely behind. In this feature, ZDNet looks at how 4G has performed in its first year, where each telco is winning in 4G, and what the future holds.
The launch of several 4G-enabled smartphones and tablets from the likes of Apple, Samsung, HTC, and Motorola have driven uptake of the standard across the globe, with customers chasing faster download speeds and better connectivity.
The latest Global mobile Suppliers' Association (GSA) report revealed that there are now 113 LTE operators in 51 countries as of November 2012, and this is tipped to increase to 209 networks in 75 countries by the end of 2013. There are now more than 560 LTE devices available across the globe.
"LTE technology is entering the mainstream," the GSA said.
Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone have been racing around the country over the last year, upgrading their 3G networks and rolling out 4G infrastructure to prepare for what Vodafone Australia CEO Bill Morrow refers to as the "data tsunami." Cisco forecasts that mobile data traffic in Australia will grow by 14 times between 2011 and 2016. Australians will be using 119 Petabytes per month, up from 9 per month in 2011, and mobile traffic will account for 23 percent of all IP traffic by 2016, up from 7 percent today.
For the telecommunications companies in Australia, 4G isn't just a luxury for customers wanting faster speeds; it's a way to keep up with demand and ride the data tsunami. To that end, Australia's three major mobile network operators have invested billions to get 4G out as quickly as possible. But some have been faster than others.
Read on for where 4G is at in Australia today.