Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey is a fan, and if you have a tablet or smartphone then today’s announcement by Telstra that it is expanding its 4G network might be good news for you too.
Telstra today announced a “dramatic” increase in 4G coverage, with plans to give two-thirds of Australians access to 4G wireless speeds.
Coverage will “more than double” in Sydney, Melbourne Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth over the next 10 months, reads a Telstra statement released today.
It’s a big shot in the arm for a technology that has up till now been restricted to people within 5km of capital city centres and certain airports and regional areas – and to Telstra users only (except for trials conducted by Optus in NSW).
Can I get it?
If you live or work within 15km from the Sydney CBD or 15-20km from the Melbourne city centre then you are within Telstra’s planned coverage zone, though you’ll have to wait until work is complete.
If you live in Sydney you can already access the first of these newly expanded 4G services – new services are accessible on the train line from North Sydney to Central, and on Bondi beach.
Other areas listed include (information supplied by Telstra):
Brisbane: Plan to more than double the coverage to stretch from Brisbane Airport in the East to Indooroopilly in the West and from Coopers Plains in the South to Chermside in the North.
Gold Coast: New planned coverage stretching from Surfers Paradise in the East to Nerang in the West and from Tugun in the South to Hope Island in the North.
Sydney: Plan to more than double the coverage to stretches from Manly in the East to Greystanes in the West and from Kogarah in the South to Hornsby in the North.
Canberra: Planned coverage from Queanbeyan in the East to Duffy in the West and from Farrer in the South to Moncrieff in the North.
Melbourne: Plan to more than double the coverage to stretch from Ringwood in the East to Werribee in the West and from Bentleigh in the South to Epping in the North.
Adelaide: Plan to more than double the coverage to stretch from Magill in the East to Henley Beach in the West and from Torrens Park in the South to Broadview in the North.
Perth: Plan to more than double the coverage, to stretch from Maida Vale in the East to Fremantle in the West and from Willetton in the South to Dianella in the North.
The pros and cons of 4G
While 4G's download speed is sometimes held up as an example of how faster speeds are possible now, without the NBN – it’s also an argument that attracts a lot of criticism.
There’s no doubt 4G can be fast, faster than ADSL2+ in some situations, but the speeds aren’t consistent. Look at various speeds tests and you’ll find that speeds can vary drastically. Not to mention that mobile wireless broadband speeds can be affected by how many people are using the network.
The other big upside to 4G - and this could be extremely handy if you need to send large files – are faster upload speeds. Telstra quotes up to 10Mbps “typical” peak speeds. That’s a lot faster than you’ll get on ADSL2+, though again, it’s not guaranteed.
What about Optus, Vodafone?
Optus is also planning 4G coverage this year in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, as well as Brisbane and Adelaide next year.
Vodafone will reportedly begin construction on its 4G network in 2013. Vodafone has also flagged plans to turn on faster 3G services (called “dual-carrier HSPA”) sometime after September this year.