Telstra tests out 700MHz 4G with Ericsson and HTC

Ahead of the 700MHz 4G spectrum release in 2015, Telstra has conducted a small test of 4G in the spectrum band using a yet-to-be-released HTC smartphone.

Telstra, its network partner Ericsson, and phone manufacturer HTC have tested out a 4G data transfer over the Asia-Pacific 700MHz spectrum band, which will be opened up to telcos in 2015.

In a blog post on Friday, Telstra's executive director of networks Mike Wright said that although the spectrum band, now freed up after the decommissioning of analog television, would not be available for commercial use until January 1, 2015, Telstra was able to gain access to some of the spectrum band for testing in regional New South Wales.

Wright said that Telstra tested out the 4G 700MHz network in two locations in regional NSW this month, with Ericsson to conduct a data session over the network using "an advanced smartphone from HTC that will launch later this year".

"Through this testing, we are keen to understand how the network works with this band of spectrum, how commercial devices interact with the network, and how we will be able to achieve faster speeds, more capacity, and wider 4G coverage," he said.

"This is just the first of what will be a number of commercial device trials over the coming months as we work with manufacturers to have devices in market once the network is switched on."

Telstra has been working with the industry and device manufacturers to get more Asia-Pacific 700MHz-compatible devices into the market before the launch of their 700MHz network in order to ensure the value of the investment the company made in the spectrum licences last year .

Telstra picked up 2x 20MHz of 700MHz and 2x 40MHz of the 2.5GHz spectrum bands for a total of AU$1.3 billion. Optus bought up 2x 10MHz of 700MHz and 2x 20MHz of the 2.5GHz spectrum bands for a total of AU$649 million. Vodafone ultimately did not bid in the auction, with TPG picking up 2x 10MHz of the 2.5GHz spectrum for AU$13.5 million.