Telstra has announced that it attained speeds of 1Gbps during live commercial 4G mobile trials by aggregating five spectrum bands in a world first in partnership with Ericsson.
"We successfully tested 1Gbps speed capability by aggregating together 100MHz of Telstra's spectrum holdings across five separate 4G channels integrated on our commercial end-to-end network," Mike Wright, GMD of Networks, said in a blog post.
During the test, 100MHz of spectrum was aggregated across the 700MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, and 2600MHz (2x 20MHz) bands, and delivered to a Cobham Aeroflex TM500 mobile device.
"Our end-to-end tests have been achieving amazing download speeds of over 950Mbps using a specialised speed test application," Wright said.
"Just as importantly, we have also been able to hit speeds of over 843Mbps end to end over the internet to the speedtest.net site."
According to Ericsson, five-carrier aggregation provides the foundation for 5G, which will require the aggregation of higher frequency bands. The high speeds also allow for better and more reliable coverage with mobile devices.
"With the high pace of innovation in the device and application industry, users increasingly expect high-performance coverage and the ability to use their apps anytime, anywhere," said Per Narvinger, head of LTE at Ericsson.
"Activating new advanced network capabilities provides operators with a more solid and secure network performance."
Telstra agreed, saying that providing connectivity to more devices at a lower latency is part of its strategy for the future.
"In addition to Telstra consumer customers, we are preparing our networks for growth in business use, as well as emerging technologies, which rely on our ability to deliver high-capacity and low-latency solutions," Wright said.
"Currently, Telstra customers can access world-leading speeds on devices capable of up to 450Mbps on compatible handsets and 600Mbps on a mobile hotspot in selected 4GX coverage areas. No doubt we still have some work to do; however, the days of commercial 1Gbps services in the market are coming."
Telstra's 4G network currently provides coverage to 94 percent of the Australian population, though it last month announced that it will be rolled out to 99 percent of the population by June 2017, with continuing deployment of its voice over LTE (VoLTE) capability and investment in its national network a priority.
"By leveraging our superior spectrum holdings, we will create new levels of coverage and performance leadership for 4GX," Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said.
Telstra began switching on parts of its 700MHz 4GX network in 2014, rolling out the network across Australia.
The telco activated its VoLTE capability in September, saying it will provide high-definition voice and video calling, as well as faster call set-up times and fewer dropouts, for customers with compatible handsets to use in 4G areas. At the same time, it launched a "world first" Category 11 4GX Wi-Fi hotspot device, touting peak download speeds of up to 600Mbps in collaboration with Ericsson and Qualcomm.
The Telstra WiFi 4GX Advanced III Mobile Broadband Hotspot uses three LTE channels across the 700MHz, 1800MHz, and 2600MHz spectrum bands to achieve faster download speeds and greater capacity than was previously available under standard 4G; during a trial in Sydney, the telco attained speeds of around 503Mbps down and 41Mbps up.
"This is the world's first commercially available Cat 11 experience, and is a breakthrough addition to our mobile device range thanks to our ongoing partnerships with these leaders in innovation,' said John Chambers, executive director of Mobile at Telstra.
According to Ericsson, the network capability is enabled by its LTE carrier aggregation 16A software, with the device and software combining to enable 256 quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) encoding, which in turn produces the peak 600Mbps download speed.
Category 11 devices can currently be used in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, and Brisbane, with the network set to expand in future.
Telstra confirmed in August that a 5G network will also be launched by the end of the decade in collaboration with Ericsson, with the network 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."