Telstra Boosts Wireless Broadband To 21Mbps (In Theory)

While phone manufacturers and Microsoft are getting all the Mobile World Congress love from the US, the little Aussie Telco that could, Telstra, has been making some pretty big announcements of its own from Barcelona. The Telco has announced that starting February 23 and rolling out over the next two months or so, they'll be launching a new wireless internet modem and offering 21Mbps wireless data speeds through NextG. That's about the same speed as ADSL2+. Before you get overly excited though and rush out to your nearest TLife store, credit card in hand and a sheepish grin covering your face, know that as with all quoted broadband speeds, you're never going to actually hit 21Mbps - you'll be looking at a figure more like 8Mbps. And until April, the 21Mbps modems will only be available to some business customers, so if you just want to be able to browse Giz on the train all over the country for your personal gratification, you'll have to stick with the slower speeds for now.

Still, the fact that Telstra has pushed this out, (and claims that NextG will hit 42Mbps by the end of the year) is actually really impressive. It's almost painful to say, but the Big T is really leading the world when it comes to 3G and LTE mobile networks. So, Kudos, Telstra.

Now, if we can just do something about pricing...

Telstra launches new era with world's fastest mobile broadband service

Barcelona, 16 February 2009 - Telstra today launched the world's fastest mobile broadband service, ushering in a new era in real-time mobile communications that will bring major benefits to customers, innovation and business productivity.

The CEOs of Telstra, Ericsson, Qualcomm and Sierra Wireless jointly announced a new 21Mbps peak rated mobile broadband modem, Telstra Turbo 21, would be available to customers on Telstra's supercharged HSPA+ network, the Next G ™ network, on 23 February. Peak network speeds will increase to 42Mbps later this year.

Speaking at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo said for the first time a mobile network would bring a true real-time broadband experience to customers, providing significant benefits in health care, education and business productivity, in addition to an enhanced consumer entertainment experience.

"In just over two years, we have taken our world leading network from peak network speeds of 3.6Mbps to 21Mbps and today we are launching the world's first commercial 21Mbps peak-rated modem - more than three times faster than devices currently in market," Mr Trujillo said.

"Using the new 21Mbps rated devices, a high quality x-ray image can be downloaded by a doctor in about 15 seconds - the potential cost and time savings across the health care industry are extraordinary. A consumer can access and download an mp3 song in just four seconds or a YouTube video in just six seconds. Some of our business customers are already seeing productivity uplifts of up to 30 per cent in parts of their workforces from the Next G ™ network by cutting travel costs and saving time.

"With 21Mbps rated network and devices, we expect to see business productivity increase even further at a time when business and governments need to find practical ways to lift economies out of recession and do more with less."

According to a recent report by Concept Economics, the Next G ™ Productivity Impacts study, industries such as passenger transport, real estate, construction, finance, trade, education and health in particular benefit from high-speed mobile broadband.

The study revealed that high-speed mobile broadband is cutting costs by reducing the need for travel, saving time and generating new business. Its modelling found the Next G ™ network alone could lead to real GDP increases of up to 0.7 % per year in Australia - http://www.telstra.com.au/abouttelstra/media/docs/Next_G_Productivity_Impact_Study_FINAL_130209.pdf

The success of the Next G ™ network in Australia has seen Telstra achieve world leading results, with 3G penetration growing by 19 percentage points to 54 per cent at the end of December 2008, while maintaining a 3G vs 2G post-paid ARPU differential in excess of A$20. Data accounted for 36% of mobile services retail revenue over the same period.

In Telstra's consumer segments, post-paid value-added services grew by 19 per cent, while pre-paid value-added services grew by 23 per cent.

At launch, the 21Mbps rated modems will be available to some business customers, with a consumer offering available in April. Customers with these devices will see typical download speeds ranging up to 8Mbps.

Ericsson CEO, Mr Carl-Henric Svanberg said Ericsson shared Telstra's vision of mobile broadband. "The record-breaking speed ensures even greater flexibility, efficiency and convenience," Mr Svanberg said. "The waiting time for downloads will be significantly reduced, allowing subscribers to enjoy real-time multimedia communication services such as video conferencing. Ericsson is delighted to be contributing to this milestone achievement through our leading technology." Qualcomm CEO, Dr. Paul E. Jacobs said: "Telstra's Next G ™ network breaks new ground for the wireless industry, leveraging the advanced capabilities of HSPA+ to seamlessly evolve their existing network to meet next-generation mobile user demands.

"Telstra is bringing an exceptional mobile internet experience to their subscribers, one that will change the way people interact with their world. Qualcomm is proud to be part of this milestone with such a valued partner," Dr Jacobs said.

Sierra Wireless CEO, Jason Cohenour said Telstra took an early leadership role in HSPA+, approaching Sierra Wireless long before any other carrier to ensure devices would be ready for the first HSPA+ network rollout in the world.

"We're pleased to support Telstra in being first in the world to deliver that to customers," Mr Cohenour said.

"We accelerated development of HSPA+ products to support Telstra's network rollout and introduced not only an HSPA+ USB modem, but also an embedded module to support original equipment manufacturers in developing new products and solutions that can leverage the faster speeds that Telstra 21 delivers. Telstra 21 promises a leap in speed and performance that transforms the wireless experience," Mr Cohenour said.

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