Telstra customers woke up to a sun shower of good news this morning, when their provider's new 4G LTE network went live in Australia -- or within parts of it, at least. After months of development and a soft launch in late August, Telstra finally flipped the switch on its broadband network today, bringing LTE coverage to capital cities, airports and other select areas. According to the company, its new infrastructure offers download speeds between two and 40 Mbps (a 25 percent increase over what its 3G network supported at launch), with upstream rates ranging from one to ten Mbps. For now, Telstra has upgraded its base stations in all eight capital cities and some 30 regional centers, though it plans to expand its coverage to 80 sites by the end of this year. Subscribers can hook up to the network with a new USB dongle from Sierra Wireless (pictured above), as long as they're within a five kilometer radius from a capital city's station, or within three kilometers of a regional center. Before long, however, Australians may not even need a dongle to bathe in LTE goodness, as Telstra is planning to launch a new 4G-enabled HTC handset by the first half of next year. At this point, details about the Android-based device (codenamed "HTC 4G") remain fuzzy, though the carrier says it will boast a 4.5-inch screen, eight megapixel camera and dual-core processor. For more details, head past the break for a pair of press releases.
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A new era of telecommunications – Telstra lights up 4G mobile services in Australia

Australians will enter a new era of mobile telecommunications today with Telstra launching the nation's first superfast 4G LTE mobile network in capital city CBDs and more than 30 regional and metropolitan centres.

Telstra CEO David Thodey said Australians could now access one of the world's most advanced mobile networks delivering some of the fastest mobile download and upload speeds available anywhere.

"Today marks a new high-speed chapter in Australian mobile telecommunications. Telstra's 4G network delivers mobile speeds scarcely imagined a decade ago, making it easier for people to connect with the things they need and love when on the move," Mr Thodey said.

"The superfast speeds mean consumers can download songs faster, get TV shows in minutes and do more things simultaneously.

"This is just the beginning. Telstra 4G will allow our mobile devices to perform even more advanced tasks and open the door to a host of innovative high-speed services that have yet to be conceived.

"Customers trialling Telstra 4G have told us it is already changing how they connect and work. For example, a sports photographer in Melbourne is now sending his high-resolution footy images direct to newspapers from the boundary line faster than ever. In Sydney, video producers are handling larger video files on the go and saving time in the process. In regional Australia, a skin cancer doctor has increased the quality of his medical images thanks to the increased bandwidth available over 4G," Mr Thodey said.

Using the Telstra USB 4G mobile broadband modem, which goes on sale today, customers in 4G coverage areas can enjoy typical download speeds ranging from 2Mbps to 40Mbps – up to ten times faster than 3G speeds currently claimed by other Australian telecommunications companies. Customers can also experience typical upload speeds of 1Mbps to 10Mbps – three times faster than previous generations of mobile broadband in Australia.

"We know there is a huge appetite for 4G-powered smartphones and tablets and Telstra is working with some of the world's leading manufacturers to bring some of these devices to customers in the first half of 2012," Mr Thodey said.

As well as supporting faster mobile speeds, Telstra 4G provides a more responsive internet connection. Network latency (the time it takes for data to travel from a PC to the internet and back) is around half that experienced on current 3G networks meaning real-time applications like video conferencing, internet gaming and cloud-hosted streaming services work better with less buffering and fewer interruptions.

Telstra also announced that it would launch 4G services in more than 50 additional locations by year's end.

Today's national launch follows Telstra's switch-on of the first 4G base stations using Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology in May and a commercial pilot of 4G services for business customers last month.

4G Plans and Pricing

The BigPond USB 4G can be purchased by consumer customers for $0 (after rebate) on a range of new 24 month plans – including on a $59.95 per month plan with 8GB of data included each month over 24 months (min cost $1,438.80).

The Telstra USB 4G can be purchased by business customers on a range of plans including $0 upfront on the $39 Telstra Mobile Broadband Standard Plan over 24 months (min total cost $936) with 4GB included data.

For more information on Telstra 4G visit www.telstra.com/4gfun. Business customers can visit: www.telstra.com/business/4G.

*Speeds vary due to factors such as distance from base station, local conditions, user numbers, hardware and software configuration.

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Telstra and HTC to bring 4G smartphone to Australia

Australians will soon get their hands on the next generation of mobile phone technology with Telstra joining with HTC to launch its first 4G LTE smartphone in the first half of 2012.

Codenamed 'HTC 4G', the smartphone will feature lightning-fast 4G mobile internet speeds, a large 4.5 inch screen and will be powered by Android™.

Telstra CEO David Thodey said Telstra 4G promised to supercharge the smartphone web experience by providing some of the fastest handset download and upload speeds available.

"4G smartphones will bring the rich internet content Australians love on their home PCs to their hands and pockets," Mr Thodey said.

"In a matter of months, our customers will be able to stream their video and music collections over the mobile internet faster than before, access cloud-hosted applications and play fast-paced internet games direct from their smartphone screen. We're delighted to be working with HTC on the first of many 4G handheld devices that are set to launch now the new Telstra 4G network is live in Australia.

HTC CEO Peter Chou said HTC and Telstra are leading the world in LTE development.

"By partnering to deliver Telstra's first 4G smartphone we are ushering in a new generation smartphone experience in Australia. Superfast network speeds in a device built with HTC's focus on design, screen quality and delivery of the best customer experience is something that we are extremely excited about making available to Australian customers."

Earlier today, Telstra launched Australia's first superfast 4G LTE mobile network in capital city CBDs and more than 30 regional and metropolitan centres.

The HTC 4G will be powered by a fast dual-core processor and will feature a high-quality 8 mega-pixel camera.

Further details, pricing and availability for the HTC 4G will be announced in the coming months.

Customers can pre-register their interest from today by visiting www.telstra.com.au/htc4g.

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Telstra's 4G LTE network goes live in Australia, new HTC handset coming next year