“Correction”. That’s what Telstra had to say about Optus’ claim earlier today that it has launched Australia’s first LTE-Advanced mobile data network.
Telstra is in the right, technically.
It upgraded a few towers on the Sunshine Coast north of Brisbane to support LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation in the middle of August last year, and at the same time launched a new 4G Advanced hotspot supporting the technology. This particular carrier aggregation implementation uses paired 900MHz and 1800MHz 4G bands, and theoretical 300Mbps download speeds.
What confuses the matter, though, is that Telstra then announced, in July of this year, a second LTE-Advanced network rollout in Perth, Fremantle, Esperance, Mildura, Mt Isa and Griffith. This rollout is on the paired 700MHz and 1800MHz 4G bands, and there was an accompanying 4G Advanced Pro X hotspot.
This is also the carrier-aggregated network pair that the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 will almost certainly support, sporting the fastest possible download speeds on an Australian mobile network. What those speeds are going to be, we’re not yet sure.
So Telstra has two LTE-Advanced networks, and has bragging rights of being the first. In practical realities, neither Telstra or Optus can lay claim to that crucial combination of widespread next-gen 4G across the country and easily available compatible smartphones or Wi-Fi hotspots.
Optus’ LTE-Advanced 4G is more widespread, and focuses on the country’s populous capital cities, for what it’s worth, so there’s still stiff competition brewing between Australia’s top two telcos.
It’s not clear whether the earlier 900MHz and 1800MHz network is still being worked on, or whether the 4G Advanced hotspot is a casualty of the rapid pace of technological progress — which would be a pity. We’re checking with Telstra for clarification and will let you know.
Either way, Telstra did have the first next-gen 4G network, even if only in a smaller footprint than Optus’s current capital city rollout. [Telstra]