Telstra has ceased development of its earliest LTE-Advanced network, the first in Australia, to focus on a more mainstream and modern approach. This (entirely rational and forward-looking) move keeps Australia’s biggest telco up to date with technology and lets it support new devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, but leaves existing owners of one particular 4G Wi-Fi hotspot out in the cold.
The Telstra Wi-Fi 4G Advanced, a Netgear re-branded Wi-Fi hotspot released in November last year, is able to connect to two different mobile network frequencies simultaneously, using one to transmit data and one to receive data to theoretically double download speeds over 4G. The Wi-Fi 4G Advanced was released and Telstra publicised its rollout as part of a strategy to develop LTE-Advanced on the 900MHz and 1800MHz frequencies, a “world’s first” claiming 300Mbps download speeds.
That particular carrier aggregation network is, unfortunately, no more.
Although it will still run at its trial site on the Sunshine Coast and “in a number of locations”, but “will not be expanded”, a Telstra spokesperson confirmed to Gizmodo yesterday. That’s because Telstra is focusing on its 700MHz and 1800MHz next-gen, carrier aggregation 4G network tech, which is equally fast and versatile and will be supported by a wider range of devices in Australia including the just-announced Samsung Galaxy Note 4.
There’s more, too. According to Telstra, wherever its 700MHz network is available, LTE-A will also be available. In a post on the Telstra Exchange blog: “Wherever Telstra deploys 700 MHz, the LTE- A service will be available. And since Telstra has double the 700 MHz spectrum of any other carrier, this will provide us with the ability to offer greater speeds and capacity to our customers.”
At the moment, Telstra already has its 700MHz and 1800MHz LTE-A network switched on in:
“…Surry Hills, Haymarket, Chippendale, Redfern, Waterloo, Zetland, Kensington, Alexandria, Erskineville, Eveleigh, Moore Park, Beaconsfield, Rushcutters Bay, Elizabeth Bay, Balmain East, Balmain, Birchgrove, Woolwich, McMahon’s Point, Lavender Bay, Milsons Point, Kurraba Point, and Neutral Bay.”
It’s not yet clear whether the Wi-Fi 4G Advanced will support Telstra’s new 700MHz frequency band, and therefore 700+1800MHz LTE-A, with a potential firmware update. Given that the Wi-Fi 4G Advanced’s optional extra 78XS charging and reception-boosting cradle lists support for 700MHz in its specifications, it’s possible, but not guaranteed.
At the moment, it’s looking like an unfortunate casualty of the ceaseless march of technological process. It’s a pity for anyone who bought one waiting for LTE-A in their area, though. We’ve asked Telstra for confirmation and will let you know as soon as we do. [Telstra]