Telstra previews faster wireless broadband modem

Telstra has unveiled a new USB modem that will allow customers to take advantage of the speed upgrade it activated on its Next G mobile broadband network last month, saying the device would go on sale “later this year”.

The infrastructure upgrade will allow Telstra customers to send and receive wireless data using two channels simultaneously. Theoretically the device will allow peak network download speeds of 42Mbps, although actual performance will vary depending on a range of factors.

In a statement issued as part of its visit to the Mobile World Congress trade fair in Barcelona in February, Telstra claimed the new device would deliver typical speeds in selected locations “around double” those seen with the fastest 3G devices available in Australia today. The modem was built by Sierra Wireless and has been dubbed the “Ultimate” edition.

“With HSPA+ Dual Carrier technology we expect to offer speeds that are comparable to the initial speeds we have seen reported from some fledgling 4G LTE networks,” said Telstra chief executive David Thodey. LTE stands for Long Term Evolution, with the technology viewed by many as the successor to existing 3G mobile phone and data networks. Thodey added that while LTE remained on Telstra’s technology roadmap, there was a “huge amount of potential” remaining in the High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA+) technology the telco currently uses.

“We will take full advantage of this by again doubling our peak network speeds to 84Mbps through the implementation of HSPA+ Dual Carrier plus MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) technology during 2011,” Thodey said.

The news comes as Telstra’s Next G network continues to gain traction with consumers. Revenues from the company’s mobile division were up $145 million in the second half of 2009 over the same period in 2008. Contributing to this additional cash flow was a 31.9% increase in revenue generated from mobile broadband services.

Unfortunately for the company, these inroads appear to have been offset by a six percent decrease in fixed line sales revenue resulting from a net decrease of 156,000 fixed line customers.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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