Australia’s largest cellco by subscribers Telstra has announced that, in a similar fashion to rival Optus, it has launched commercial trials of LTE-based services using the 700MHz band. In a press release the company has confirmed that it will conduct the trials using 20MHz of spectrum in the 700MHz band at customers in six locations, those being: Perth, Fremantle, Esperance, Mildura, Mt Isa and Griffith. Looking ahead, Telstra then expects to roll out 4G 700MHz services in a ‘range of cities and regional centres’ from January 2015.
Commenting on the benefits of offering LTE using the 700MHz band, Mike Wright, Telstra Group Managing Director Networks, noted: ‘This spectrum operates at a lower frequency that will give our customers better 4G coverage in buildings, lifts and car parks … Our superior spectrum holding is significant and as customers take part in this commercial trial, they will experience faster speeds compared with other services in this band.’
Alongside simply offering 4G services using new frequencies, Telstra has also confirmed that it will test LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) technology, combining the spectrum it has in the 700MHz and 1800MHz to offer even faster downlink speeds, enhance capacity and again provide better indoor coverage.
‘After completing successful testing of the network in Perth, Fremantle and regional New South Wales we are pleased to be able to have customers start trying the new network for themselves when we switch it on in the coming weeks,’ Mr Wright said, adding: ‘The commercial trial will also allow us to test how our use of the 700MHz band interacts with wireless audio devices that are still able to be used by the community in this spectrum until the end of 2014.’