When you think about where the world’s advanced wireless networks are, countries that come to mind are Japan, South Korea, and Sweden, but have you ever considered Australia? Telstra, the largest operator in a nation that’s ridiculously competitive, was the first in the world to launch a 42 Mbps HSPA+ network and have said that by the end of the year they hope to ratchet that up to 84 Mbps. More recently, in May of this year, they started turning on their LTE network, but oddly enough they haven’t released any devices that can support it. That’s due to change by the end of this month with the “Sierra Wireless Telstra 4G USB”; according to Light Reading roughly 2,000 of these USB modems will be available to “account managed business customers in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane” on the 29th of August, and then a full scale rollout will occur later this year. The Telstra 4G USB is capable of operating on the 1800 MHz band for LTE and the 850 MHz band for HSPA should you find yourself outside a coverage zone. No 2G support sadly, for the folks who like to live in the sticks.
The modem itself will cost nothing, but it’ll require a 2 year plan with a monthly fee of $49 AUD ($50 USD), and for that you get 7 GB of data. It has yet to be clarified what happens when you pass that limit. We’re curious to see just how fast this thing can go since Telstra is already delivering 25 Mbps speeds with their 42 Mbps HSPA+ network, the same type of numbers that Verizon pulls with their 4G LTE network. We’re big fans of LTE here at IntoMobile, but for the sake of practicality we think HSPA+ has at least 2 to 3 more years left before it’s even remotely considered “slow”. By that time LTE-Advanced will be out, and downloading videos at 1 Gbps will be a reality. Mind blowing when you think about it.