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Telstra to increase 4G LTE speeds with CAT4 devices

The telco has achieved speeds of up to 90Mbps on its 4G network in field tests using Category 4 mobile wireless devices.
Written by Spandas Lui, Contributor

Telstra is gearing up to launch new mobile broadband devices later this year that will give customers even faster data speeds on its 4G LTE network.

Telstra will introduce two Category 4 (CAT4) devices: a wi-fi dongle and a handset. CAT4 devices are capable of 150Mbps download speeds compared with CAT3, which peak at 100Mbps. Typical download speeds for Telstra customers on the 4G network using CAT3 devices are around 2Mbps to 40Mbps, depending on a number of factors.

The company had been running field tests in Perth and Esperance in Western Australia where it has 20MHz of contiguous spectrum, the ideal condition for CAT4, which yielded speeds of over 90Mbps.

"In our laboratory testing for the new CAT4 devices, we have seen peak device speeds of well over 100 Mbps," said Telstra executive director for networks and access technologies Mike Wright in a blog post. "... Suffice to say, the download speeds a customer experiences using a CAT4 device can be faster than those obtained using a CAT3 device, all other things being equal."

While he noted that customers are not going to notice the speed improvements in most cases, delivering data faster will free up capacity on Telstra's network.

"To use an analogy, not only can vehicles move faster down a freeway, we are also adding more lanes to the freeway," Wright said. "The two combine to give a more consistent and satisfactory customer experience.

"Increased speed also increases capacity because it means that more of our customers can be on the network at one time, and each will have the speeds to support what they are doing."

The news comes a week after NBN Co announced that it will be doubling the data speeds for its fixed-wireless and satellite services over the National Broadband Network (NBN) to speeds that are comparable to CAT3 LTE. NBN fixed-wireless and satellite services will be available to rural and regional residents in 2015.

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