Telstra's Super-Fast 4GX Is Now Official

Got a new Galaxy S5, LG G3, HTC One M8, iPhone 6 or other LTE 700MHZ-compatible smartphone? Got a Galaxy Note 4 faithfully pre-ordered? Telstra has officially introduced its next-generation mobile data network, and it's promising some pretty impressive download figures as well as massively improved range and coverage.

LTE image via Shutterstock

What Is 4GX?

We first talked about 4GX in early October, and after a little bit of hinting on new products like the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, iPhone 6 and Sony Xperia Z3 on Telstra's website, it looks like the moniker is now official.

As humans we love going faster. And that extends to how we use our mobiles which we increasingly rely on to connect with people, apps and content in the moment. That’s why we’re introducing 4GX. 4GX is our new mobile service that’s bringing extreme speeds and extra 4G coverage to a range of communities across the nation. It’s a big step forward in mobile performance built on some of the world’s most advanced network technology.

4GX refers to a couple of things simultaneously. It's Telstra's marketing term for the 700MHz mobile frequency band that it purchased from the government in May 2013 — a frequency band that, when refarmed for mobile data communication, offers longer transmission ranges and better building penetration than Telstra's current 900MHz and 1800MHz 4G holdings. It's also the terminology that refers to Telstra's new LTE-Advanced network, which bonds 700MHz with the existing 1800MHz network on compatible devices (like the Galaxy Note 4) to double download speeds.

With a 700MHz-compatible smartphone, of which there are a few dozen already on the market including the Samsung Galaxy S5 and LG G3, you can expect somewhat improved download speeds from Telstra's current 900MHz and 1800MHz 4G networks — purely due to less congestion and a larger contiguous chunk of spectrum being available to handsets. Around the 80Mbps download and 40Mbps upload mark seems reasonable. On 700MHz plus 1800MHz LTE-Advanced on the Telstra Advanced Pro X hotspot and the Note 4 — the only two devices in Australia to support 4GX LTE-A at the moment — you can expect much improved speeds, in the order of 150Mbps download and 40Mbps upload.

When you use a phone compatible with 700MHz, your phone will switch between all three of Telstra's 4G bands as appropriate, and you should see improved coverage and more consistent download speeds at a higher overall transfer rate. This is a Good Thing. Telstra's coverage maps don't show 4GX/700MHz saturation just yet, but you should expect coverage on the January 1 roll-out to extend at least 3km from the centre of each state capital city (measured from the GPO).

The official go-live date for 4GX is January 1, 2015 — that's when Telstra is allowed to switch on the 700MHz network as per its deal with the government. Along with the capital cities' CBDs, a full 50 regional centres, likely with slightly reduced coverage range, are also ready to go. Said network will also be significantly expanded over the course of the next year, but until then when you leave a 4GX zone you'll automatically fail over to regular ol' 4G or Telstra's nationwide 3G alternative.

4GX also comes with the tagline "what faster feels like", and in a bit of informal testing by CNet at Telstra's launch today, there really is a significant boost in download speeds — 150Mbps download speeds are not uncommon to see:

There might be a couple of teething issues, though, with speeds in the 7-12Mbps range also popping up in testing — seemingly a mix between the 150Mbps-ish maximum and the significantly lower alternative. It's entirely possible that some devices may be defaulting to non-4GX and non-LTE-Advanced mobile frequencies with the widespread network yet to be switched on more broadly, but having the potential there is the important part. Here's Telstra on 4GX:



    now i can burn through my shitty data allowance in half the time!

      Kinda like, you can now travel at 200km/h legally but for only 10 secs.

    Hmm you totally failed to mention the Apple iPhone 6 and 6 plus work with 4GX also, biased much?

      Are you kidding? Read this:

      Or look in the middle of this list:

      When there are dozens of phones out there that support 700MHz, I'm not going to list them all.

        Yeah, read these non-article links, idiot!

        Gee, I would have thought the most popular smartphone would be mentioned in this actual article, not linked elsewhere.

        5 phone models mentioned, including phones that aren't out yet -- including yet another Sony device no one will buy.

          There's no pleasing some people :)

          iPhone 6 mention and link added for your approval.

            How can you say that iPhone supports LTE-A that is not true. Yes it supports 700mhz LTE band but no, not LTE-A.
            Posted on iPhone 6 plus.

              I haven't said that. The iPhone 6/Plus supports 700MHz but not LTE-A, yep, but that is clear in the article.

                It does seem the iPhone 6 does support LTE-A due to the inclusion of the Qualcomm MDM9625M LTE chip, which supports LTE Advanced.


        You realise that skipping over what is arguably the most popular line of phones will likely be seen as a bias right? Even if it's just your personal preferences shining through and nothing ethically shady... It's still a bias.

        Which will mislead readers.

        I read the article before your update and assumed that those iPhones weren't capable of it, because logically you probably would have mentioned them otherwise. Not that I found it a big deal either way.

        However you attacking and downvoting one of your readers, who not only called out something that should be called out but gave potentially valuable information for your readers? Seriously show some professionalism.

          Oh, mate. It's not the end of the world. My reply pointed to the more exhaustive (but still not complete) list in my month old article which includes the iPhone 6.

          I have no bias against Apple. I picked the first few 700MHz compatible phones that came to mind. I didn't 'skip' anything.

          I'll be putting together a full list of 700MHz phones and tablets and hotspots tomorrow. I'll make sure to put the iPhone 6, 6 Plus and iPad at the top of the list as my penance. How's that sound?

            My point was exactly that skipping it wasn't the end of the world, but was still a mistake.

            Honestly as I said it's not even a mistake I much care about and I honestly believe you when you say there was no ill intention behind it.

            What I did complain about was your attitude towards one of your readers as being very unprofessional, you may not have liked his tone but he added valuable information to a discussion and you attacked him for it.

            It's stuff like that which actually bugs me.

              I didn't attack the guy. Read his initial post -- "biased much?". I think "are you kidding" with a rational explanation is an entirely reasonable approach.

                Based on your tone, you linking to sources not present in the article at the time and downvoting him... Yes I read that as an attack.

                As an author you should consider how your writing appears to others, rather than simply rely on your intent.

                I'd also say he's correct that you have a personal bias, that's why the apple devices weren't on the top of your head, though I don't believe there was any ill intent behind that bias unlike the OP.

                  Sources not present in the article at the time? "What Is 4GX" has been there, in bold, since I published the story. As has "We first talked about 4GX" with the same link, straight underneath it. Honestly, man, this is the last comment I make because this argument is just silly.

                  @campbellsimpson the information not present at the time was purely that the latest iPhone's were capable of it.

                  You can decide this is the last comment and the argument is silly, acting like the unprofessional aggressive ass I thought you were in the first comment... Or you could have tried to actually be a representative for your company and treat your readers with respect.

                  For one why would anyone click the "What is 4GX" article if this article covers enough of that info to understand it? Even if you stick by your stance that it wasn't needed in the article (Which since you edited in I don't think you have) how hard would it have been to just be polite to the guy?

                  Or to me for that matter.

                Dude, you just got metaphorically kicked to the ground by fanboys lol... Put the iPhone at the bottom of your complete list to teach them a lesson :)

            Geez.. you sure are getting a beating for this! I for one didn't even care which devices you listed in the article, but yeah when the 4GX goes live, would be great to do a roadtest article with a few of the leading devices...

        The list had the appearance of being "these are the phones you need to use this" and leaving one of the more popular ones off it did seem strange.

      (p)iOS much zimmy/jondalar?...

      Last edited 03/11/14 6:35 pm

        Not even slightly what my issue was, I don't know what your point is I just thought it unprofessional the way the author attacked someone for bringing up a valid point, even if they might have been a little combative about it.

        Of course you and @timmaaa need to jump it and try reduce it to a black and white apple vs android fanboy argument.... Nice work.

      Lol. Fanboy got upset because his crapple device wasn't mentioned.

    I'd just like a reliable network that doesn't drop out randomly... and yes, I'm on Telstra and in the middle of Melbourne.

    So excited. The LTE standard is going to offer real time gaming. When the operators switch on the feature that is. Low latency mobile? Crap yeah! Early days, too expensive, not enough devices. But give it time. Do my downloads at home, go play CS GO in the park? Sounds good to me.

    Nexus 5 doesn't appear to be compatible :( My sister just bought an iPhone 6 though, so good for her.

    is this only from phones brought from telstra or is this can be any brought from any provider ? i'm asking because i got my s5 from vodafone but am a little confused about this. i will make the switch to telstra but only if i'm guarantee to get 4gx speeds

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