We don't really have in-flight wi-fi in Australia yet, although both Virgin and Qantas are working on it. It's far more common throughout Europe and the US, but a consortium of European companies is taking a different approach to the new network it's building: instead of satellites dozens of kilometres above the Earth bouncing signals from ground stations to planes and back, the European Aviation Network uses 4G LTE beamed directly upwards from mobile phone towers.
Tagged With 4g
If you're living in a house out in the sticks that doesn't have fixed-line internet, or even a house in the city with a terrible ADSL connection — like me — then you have an alternative, provided your download quota requirements aren't too high. D-Link's DWR-921 is a router that you can plug a SIM into and have instant fast 4G access, as long as you're happy to pay Telstra or Optus or Vodafone for mobile data.
Optus owns and maintains the largest fleet of satellites across Australia, but at the same time the number-two telco can't rival its larger competitor Telstra for mobile network coverage in rural and remote parts of Australia. It makes sense, then, for Optus to boost its coverage in black spots using a series of small cells — lower-powered portable radio nodes that are much easier to install than a full mobile tower — that connect to its satellite network. And that's exactly what the company is doing.
Anyone who's ever signed up for a NBN connection or even a regular ADSL line knows how frustrating it is to wait for a tech appointment. But eventually, one day that might be a distant memory. Telstra has just announced plans to release a home modem router early next year that includes integrated 4G as well as a fixed-line connection — cutting what can sometimes be a painful wait for customers to get their home 'net connected.
Although many Aussies wouldn't believe it if you told them, our country's 3G and 4G mobile networks are regularly ranked among the best in the world. In actual fact, South Korea is the only country that consistently ranks ahead of Australia for overall mobile network speed and 3G or 4G availability, and our average download smartphone download speeds have cracked 25Mbps for the first time ever. OpenSignal's sixth Global State of the Mobile Network report paints a glowing picture of Australia's mobile telecommunications infrastructure.
As part of "a strategic commitment to ensure continued technological leadership" announced in its annual financial results today, Telstra is devoting the most money since it built its NextG 3G network in 2008 to further develop 4G and ready itself for 5G. $3 billion over the next three years will go towards network building and digitising its customer-facing service and sales setups.
If you send a lot of text messages and make a lot of calls to your buddies around Australia, then you definitely want a mobile phone plan with unlimited SMS and national calling. You don't have to spend much money at all to make that happen, though — Vaya says it can do exactly that, plus a little bit of 4G data too, for just $16 a month.
If you've been to the snow in the last couple of years, you'll have had some trouble getting online on your smartphone. Australia's ski towns have been notoriously poorly served for high-speed mobile data, but that's been changing: Telstra now says its customers use nearly two terabytes of 4G data per week at Victoria's Mount Buller resort alone.
Over the next two weeks five more Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) — telcos who don't own the network infrastructure — will join TPG Mobile and Kogan on the Vodafone 4G network.
Customers of Lebara, Macquarie Telecom, Hello Mobile, Go Talk and Pivotel Prepaid will be switched over to 4G by 6 July.
Wireless coverage mapping expert OpenSignal has released its first ever report on the state of mobile networks within Australia, and its findings are pretty interesting, if not completely surprising: Telstra currently offers the fastest possible download speeds on 4G, but that comes at the cost of slightly higher latency where Vodafone and Optus swing ahead. Vodafone also wins out on the availability of its 4G networks, with a slight advantage over both its competitors.
Optus has become the last of Australia's major telcos to introduce VoLTE — Voice over LTE — which allows customers to make and receive calls over the high-speed 4G Plus network. This saves phones from constantly having to switch between 3G and 4G while making calls, while also lending itself to clearer, more consistent calls.
Here we are, thinking about 5G when there are still 3G-only plans out there. Such is the case currently for Aldi, which resells Telstra's 3G — though not for much longer. Come 28 April, all customers will have their service 4G-enabled, with new plans to boot.
Everybody loves speedy internet, so it's no surprise that every major telecom in the world is working to make it even faster. Smartphones, watches, homes and cars are increasingly requiring stable internet connections. In order to pipe in enough bandwidth for that precious wireless feed, we're going to need an entirely new form of wireless signal — that's where 5G comes in.
Australia's 4G networks are only getting faster. But it's the future beyond 4G that equally concerns Telstra, so it's playing an active role in ensuring that the next big leap forward in mobile networking is one that suits Australia and Telstra's Australian customers — and it's spending money to do so.
This year, Telstra will let its customers make voice calls using their mobile numbers over their home Wi-Fi, seamlessly handing off voice calls from 4G to customers' in-home wireless networks when mobile coverage gets spotty. It's also working on its in-house-developed video calling service that will operate over 4G.
Telstra will upgrade its 4GX mobile network in capital cities around Australia to support the LTE Category 16 standard this year, and plans to release the world's first 4G mobile broadband hotspot capable of 1Gbps download speeds in partnership with Netgear. In tests it has already run in real-world settings, the telco has seen download speeds north of 800Mbps. Your 4G is going to get fast.