Telstra hits 590Mbps mobile data speeds using LTE-A

Telco switches on Voice over LTE across 4G network, looks at Video over LTE

Telstra managed yesterday to hit speeds of up to 590 megabits per second using LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation on its network, the telco's group managing director for networks, Mike Wright, said today.

The landmark follows the carrier's switching on of technology that promises theoretical peak speeds of 460Mbps, based on aggregating 20MHz of spectrum on the 1800MHz band with two FDD 20MHz channels on the 2600MHz spectrum band.

"We said earlier this year we would be turning on 450 megabits per second on our network," Wright said today during an investor day presentation.

The telco revealed last year it was testing the technology.

Wright said today that Telstra this month activated it on its network in order to tune performance and begin testing of devices that support LTE-A carrier aggregation that the telco will be bringing to market later this year.

"There's obviously an ongoing evolution in this world as well and I'm pleased to say that as of yesterday we've already started, and have uploaded into our live commercial network, software that enables the testing of 600 megabits per second theoretical speeds," Wright said.

"We only started testing yesterday so all I can tell you today is that we only got 590 megabits per second but we'll continue to tune it and we'll get there."

Wright also said that Telstra has activated Voice Over LTE (VoLTE) across its 4G network.

"We've started internal testing with our own devices to start to tune and optimise that VolTE network, which will bring us to a world where we carry voice only on the 4G layer."

When market penetration reaches a tipping point, the telco can begin rolling out 4G-only mobile coverage carrying voice with VoLTE, Wright said.

"What VoLTE also gives us a foundation for, though, is an evolution for the network to not only making voice calling but video," Wright said.

"Inside Telstra, I rarely make a voice call any more. So we truly believe there's an evolution there where people will want to actually connect with video as well, and we now have a foundational capability on the network to turn that on when people want to use it."

The last "step in this chain" is enabling voice over Wi-Fi, Wright said. VoWIFI will allow customers to "customise some of their own coverage" depending on their needs.

"That whole voice/VoLTE/ViLTE [Video over LTE] starts to emerge this year — this month as we start to test and make sure it's working to our satisfaction."

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