Telstra and HTC today confirmed that Australia's first 4G smartphone — the HTC Velocity 4G — will be available to purchase from Tuesday 24 January. The Velocity 4G is the first phone to work on the Telstra's LTE enablement of its Next G network, which runs on the LTE 1800MHz network band.
• Full details on Telstra's commercial launch of 4G
• Telstra's 4G LTE Android phone is the HTC Raider 4G
Sold as the HTC Raider 4G in the US and South Korea, the HTC Velocity 4G has a large 4.5in qHD touchscreen, a 1.5GHz dual core processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal memory and an 8-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash. The phone is coated in a gloss black finish on the front and has a silver battery cover on the rear. It will ship with the 2.3 "Gingerbread" version of Google's Android OS, though Telstra hasn't revealed if it will eventually be upgraded to the latest 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" version.
Telstra claims using the HTC Velocity 4G in a 4G coverage area will result in mobile Internet speeds up to five times faster than it's regular Next G network. The 4G network, which uses the LTE 1800MHz band, will approximately double download speeds and triple upload speeds compared to the Next G network. The company is quoting typical download speeds of between 2 megabits per second (Mbps) and 40Mbps and typical upload speeds of between 1Mbps and 10Mbps.
Initial 4G coverage stretches across all eight capital cities and their respective airports in Australia, along with 30 out of a possible 80 regional and metropolitan centres. If 4G is not available, the HTC Velocity 4G will "switch across" to the regular HSDPA+ Next G network.
Telstra says its 4G LTE coverage spans 5km from capital city GPOs (General Post Office) and 3km from regional and metropolitan GPOs. Amongst the metropolitan and regional areas to currently boast 4G LTE coverage include Albany, Broome, Dubbo, Nowra, Singleton, Orange, Mt Isa, Devonport, Victor Harbour and Ballarat. Telstra says it will continue the LTE rollout into other coverage areas "where demand requires the extra capacity".
Telstra customers can pre-order the HTC Velocity online from today and have it delivered from 24 January. The phone will also be available for purchase at selected Telstra stores from 24 January.
The HTC Velocity 4G is available for $0 upfront on Telstra's $79 Freedom Connect plan, which includes $800 worth of calls and MMS, unlimited SMS and 2GB of data per month. month. The Velocity 4G is also available on a number of business plans.
In addition to the HTC Velocity 4G, Telstra has promised LTE tablets in first half of 2012. However, the telco has provided no further details aside from saying most device manufacturers "have committed" to LTE.