Telstra's LTE move ups the competitive ante

Telco intends to maintain mobile network advantage with 4G rollout, say analysts.

Telstra chief executive, David Thodey's announcement is the second time in two years the telco has used Mobile World Congress to flag significant changes to its network.

Telstra chief executive, David Thodey's announcement is the second time in two years the telco has used Mobile World Congress to flag significant changes to its network.

Telstra's plan to significantly upgrade its wireless internet services is clearly intended to maintain its mobile network advantage over its rivals, according to industry analyst, Ovum.

The telco will use new 4G technology to boost mobile internet speeds in capital cities and some regional areas by the end of the year, a move chief executive, David Thodey, has said is aimed at meeting the growing demands for mobile data.

The move to the long term evolution (LTE) network is earlier than predicted, and would make the telco the first LTE network operator in Australia.

The network will operate over the Telstra’s existing 1800MHz spectrum assets and will fall under the company’s Next G brand, but would not immediately replace the 3G/HSPA+ technologies currently used over the 850MHz in Australia.

“Telstra will launch its LTE network six to 12 months earlier than expected, based on its earlier indications,” Ovum senior analyst, Nicole McCormick, said in a statement.

“While Telstra’s Next G network advantage has been gradually eroded over the past couple of years, its first-to-market LTE launch provides the carrier with another point of differentiation against its competitors.”

McCormick said the move will pressure second-ranked Optus to respond, adding the LTE risk for Optus is that Telstra will not only retains its high-end corporate mobile broadband customers, but will also poach some of Optus’ high-end users as well.

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