Telstra taking mobile broadband to 172Mbps

Telstra has selected suppliers for a technology trial of new high bandwidth Long-Term-Evolution (LTE) mobile network technology.

Telstra has selected three companies with which to carry out the LTE trials, including current network technology supplier Nokia Siemens Networks, as well as competitors Huawei and Ericsson. Trials are scheduled to start in May this year and will take between three and six months to carry out.Telstra

“Telstra will draw on three of the most prominent providers of the mobile technology industry for the tests, including its long standing network partner, Ericsson. Joining the testing ranks will be Huawei and Nokia Siemens Networks,” Telstra said in a statement.

Michael Rocca, acting chief operations officer at Telstra believed LTE to be the logical choice from current 3.5G technologies such as Telstra NextG and was a superior technology to the competing 4G WiMax specification being rolled out by such companies as VividWireless.

“Long-Term-Evolution will be an important evolution for the Next G network in due course because it will give consumers access to higher speeds while giving Telstra the capacity to serve an increasing number of customers and support an even wider range of applications,” Mr Rocca said in a statement.

While there is still scope to improve the speeds of Telstra’s NextG network further which currently supports a maximum theoretical downstream speed of 42Mbps, it is expected that as demand for data services grows, it will be far more cost effective to move to LTE technology rather than install additional NextG base stations.

“So what we’re saying now is the road map moving towards another 3 to 5 years we know the efficiencies that LTE will give us. Otherwise you’re going to have to keep on building these base stations and your unit costs goes up given the requirements we can see coming up for data in the network,” Mr Rocca said.

With LTE technology Telstra believes it can increase the 42Mbps theoretical maximum to a massive 172Mbps, with real world speeds increasing relative to the theoretical maximum (real world speeds are anything from 550kbps to 8Mbps generally for NextG currently). Telstra is expected to start rolling out LTE technology to consumers in 2013.

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