Telstra 4G to reach 66% of Aussies by June 2013

Telstra has announced plans to extend its LTE to 66.6 per cent of Australians by June 2013.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

Australia's largest telecommunications company Telstra has announced plans to expand its 4G long-term evolution (LTE) network to 66.6 per cent of the population, up from 40 per cent today.

The roll-out over the next 10 months will see 1000 new 4G base stations installed as part of an AU$1.2 billion investment in its network announced earlier this month by CEO David Thodey.

Once completed, coverage in the Sydney CBD will reach 10km to 15km from the Sydney GPO, while in Melbourne, 4G coverage will reach out to between 15km and 20km from the Melbourne GPO.

Brisbane coverage will be more than doubled to cover Brisbane Airport to Indooroopilly, and from Coopers Plains to Chermside. Gold Coast coverage will extend from Surfer's Paradise to Nerang, and Tugun to Hope Island.

Canberra coverage will go from Queanbeyan to Duffy and from Farrer to Moncrieff.

Adelaide will also get double the coverage that it has today, extending from Magill to Henley Beach, and Torrens Park to Broadview.

Perth's coverage will also be doubled, going from Maida Vale to Fremantle, and Willetton to Dianella.

Telstra now has more than 500,000 active 4G services, made up of 340,000 mobile broadband devices and 160,000 smartphones.

Telstra's executive director of networks Mike Wright told journalists in Sydney today that Telstra has a 10-year plan for use of spectrum, but said that the current roll-out of 4G only focuses on rolling out 4G in the 1800MHz spectrum. He said that the digital dividend spectrum will come in to play farther down the track.

Telstra's executive director of mobiles, Warwick Bray, said that between now and the end of this year, Telstra expects there to be at least five new 4G smartphone devices released in Australia that will work on Telstra's network, but declined to say whether the iPhone 5 would be one of those devices.

"You will have to ask Apple," he said.

Overall, two thirds of the devices that Telstra releases in the next year will be 4G compatible, he said.

Telstra will also continue its 3G network upgrades, and will conduct around 7500 network expansions in the next financial year, which could include upgrading software, adding a new antenna or building a new network site. Wright said that planned tunnel coverage in Sydney will be completed by April next year, and that Telstra is working on tunnel coverage in every city across Australia, but could not say when Melbourne will come online.

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