Last year the Federal Government announced it would be auctioning off two 15 MHz lots of the 700 MHz spectrum, used to provide 4G mobile broadband. Today, the winning bids for the auction have been announced, with TPG and Vodafone snapping it up.
Tagged With 4g
As our airwaves get more and more packed with wireless signals, we have to find a way to make those signals travel more efficiently — it's the only way to increase capacity and keep up with demand. One way to do that is to use novel technologies like LTE-Broadcast to deliver the same popular data stream to multiple devices. After years of testing, and trials, and procrastination, Telstra is switching on LTE-B around the country in 2018.
A smartphone without a big whack of mobile data is like a sports car without petrol in the tank. Almost everything we do with our phones requires an internet connection, so there is no point cheaping out on a plan with puny data inclusions nowadays.
The good news is that data keeps getting cheaper. The rise in popularity (and sheer volume) of mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) has put crushing pressure on the price we pay for each gigabyte, and if you're not regularly checking your options and switching then there is a good chance you are missing out. Here are the best deals.
It seems like the days of actual internet outages are coming to an end. Telstra's new Gateway Frontier modem router will give you 4G wireless internet while you wait for your NBN or other wired connection to be installed, and in the case of a wired network outage it'll automatically switch over to its backup 4G to keep you connected.
Video: Now this is the ultimate network reliability test. Vodafone rigged a $300,000-plus BMW M6 race car with three Samsung Galaxy S7 phones, blacked out the windscreen, and set up three Samsung tablets in front of the steering wheel to stream real-time video from the phones' cameras over its 4G network.
Then the team put racing legend and V8 Supercar champion Mark Skaife behind the steering wheel, stuck Vodafone Australia's CEO in the passenger seat, and unleashed the car at full speed around the Calder Park Thunderdome in Victoria.
More and more people are using Australia's 4G mobile networks every day. You've noticed, too: when you're on the train to work, your phone takes ages to load a Web page or refresh Facebook or start a music stream, despite being in full reception. The same happened with 3G. But there's a solution: this is what telcos are doing to fix it.
If you live or work somewhere with terrible mobile reception, you've already felt the pain of trying to make or receive a call and having it drop out or go straight to voicemail. Optus has finally switched on its solution to that problem, letting you make calls over whatever high-speed Wi-Fi network you're connected to — at least if you're using one of Samsung's Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge phones.
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.
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.