Buckle up: Telstra 4G upgrade trial heading to Sydney and Adelaide

27 August 2014

Australia’s biggest telco is set to expand its new 4G network upgrade tests in Sydney and Adelaide, bringing the number of test areas up to 8. Thanks to Telstra gaining early access to its low-frequency 700MHz spectrum purchase, users in select pockets of the two cities could see their 4G coverage improve significantly in the near future.

Wait, what?

As part of the never-ending race towards wireless supremacy, Aussie telcos have been focusing on expanding their 4G networks in to low-frequency bandwidths that have hitherto been unavailable.

Low frequency waves travel longer distances and are better at penetrating solid matter. In the real world that translates to wider range for 4G towers, and better coverage when indoors or surrounded by buildings.

Oh, cool

It is cool. Telstra isn’t the only telco doing this; Optus will gain access to the 700MHz spectrum next year and Vodafone is converting its 3G 850MHz network over to 4G. All of this means better 4G speeds in more places for Australians. Right now, though, Telstra is the one-and-only member of the Down Under low-MHz club.

Moreover, as Telstra is wont to remind us all, it has double the spectrum access of Optus and Vodafone, meaning it can fork out the good stuff to twice as many customers.

Seeing as Telstra already has more than twice as many customers as any other individual telco, congestion rates should realistically be quite similar.

Will it work on my phone?

Unfortunately, not all phones in Australia are compatible with the 700MHz 4G spectrum. Currently only the HTC One (M8), Samsung Galaxy S5, LG G3 and HTC Desire 610 have the capability of benefitting from the trials.

Still, that means if you’ve grabbed a new flagship phone on Telstra recently then you have a decent chance of seeing a bump in 4G coverage sometime during the next month. So long as you’re in one of those “select pockets”, of course.

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