Telstra To Add A 900MHz 4G Network

Australia is about to get its first 900MHz 4G network with the announcement this morning that Telstra is set to add the frequency band into its existing 4G network offerings to complement the 1800MHz spectrum it already has. What does this mean for you though? Less congestion for a start.

Telstra announced plans to add the 900MHz spectrum in parallel to its current 1800MHz offering today at a network briefing.

The 900MHz part of the network will be used to improve coverage in rural areas, while improving what Telstra is calling "depth". Presumably that means in-building signal penetration.

Telstra plans to issue 4G device firmware updates where applicable to make hardware compatible with the new 900MHz network spectrum, while the telco works with Sierra Wireless as a hardware partner to issue a dedicated 900MHz device around the middle of the year. Devices like the Nokia Lumia 920 are already 900MHz-ready, while the BlackBerry Z10 and the Sony Xperia Z — coming soon — will be 900MHz ready out of the box, too.

Also on the 4G network, Telstra added that it would start trialling network technologies known as LTE-A (or LTE Advanced) and LTE-B (or LTE Broadcast). These are two technologies that Telstra is experimenting with for a future deployment, with the telco's network execs saying that the company needed to understand these specifications for when they might be needed in future.

LTE-A is a system that lets the telco combine both 1800MHz and 900MHz spectrum to create one network stream. When someone moves deeper into a rural area, they shift from being on the larger spectrum over to the 900MHz spectrum to ensure consistent coverage.

LTE-B, meanwhile, is designed for more effective video and media deployment around the network so that people watching or using media content doesn't create a whole mess of congestion. Imagine for a moment 500 people all watching the same broadcast of a sports game over the 4G network on the same radio base station. With ordinary LTE, all of those users would be crushed under their own weight. On LTE-B, however, content is pushed to the tower to turn it into a broadcast-style system where the users would hook onto the one stream rather than consuming all of the tower's network capacity. Telstra said this would have benefits for not just media broadcasts, but also machine-to-machine communications as well as files that need to be downloaded by a lot of folks at once.

Telstra also plans to bust congestion in the cities on its networks by rolling out smaller cell networks called Heterogenous Networks, or HetNets. These so-called HetNets will be used to deploy more coverage to densely populated areas and large events. No more lunch breaks where networks say they give you full signal but time-out on data? Yes please.


Comments

    Will it work with a Galaxy S3 4G?

    Last edited 20/02/13 10:32 am

      No, it will not. The SGS3 only supports LTE at 800, 1800 and 2600
      See: http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_i9305_galaxy_s_iii-5001.php

      Hopefully the SGS4 will be pentaband LTE like the Nokia Lumia 820/920 are.

      The Galaxy Note II (model N7105) already has quadband 4G, including 900.

      Apart from that the only other phones in Android flavours are the Sony Xperia Z and Xperia ZL and the Samsung Galaxy Express.

      If LTE is already congested where you are, you will need a new phone.

      Last edited 20/02/13 12:00 pm

    Is this the 4G band the iPad3 used (making it not 4G in Australia)?

    I should just Google it, rather than throwing out random questions here....

      Just to prove your second point about googling,

      Yes it will enable 4G on the iPad3. No need to google, you can trust the answers given by random people.

        This comment is just arrogant and dickish and the sarcasm was unnecessary. If you don't have anything useful to say then don't say it.

        As per Apples specs the iPad 3 supports LTE on 2100mhz not 900mhz and will not support this 4g. http://www.apple.com/ipad/LTE/

          Oh, i thought it was a bit of light-hearted banter meant as a joke...

          He said himself that he should have googled it.

          Did someone wake up on the wrong side of the strapon this morning?

    Any word on when the magical 900MHZ band will be switched on? Looking forward to some better 4G reception in the Melbourne CBD

    The announcement from Telstra doesn't mention if the "HetNets" are 3G or 4G?

    Last edited 20/02/13 12:42 pm

    Every big music festival I go to overloads the mobile networks. Will HetNets help with that? If so, yes please!

    So is 900MHz going to eventually be the new standard for LTE, or just a Telstra thing like 850MHz HSPA? I thought we were waiting until the digital TV cutover and subsequent frequency auction before this was decided?

    Will there eventually be a world standard LTE phone like the iPhone 4S was a "world phone" for HSPA, or will we be fractured until 5G?

      No, Telstra need the 700MHz in many areas because Optus have slit of 900MHz.

      There will eventually be a pentaband 4G phone which will make it almost worldwide. Probably this year.

    Any word on more towers in metro areas? I want more breadth, not more depth. Sydney CBD doesn'tvhave congestion on 4G but the lower networks are terrible.

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