Optus Managing Director of Products and Deliver, Andrew Buay, had the following to say:
“This is another example of Telstra misleading Australian businesses and consumers into thinking they will now experience speeds of 21Mbps across the whole NextG network.
“The fact is customers will need to buy a new modem and live/work beneath a base station to take advantage of these ‘theoretical’ speeds.
“For all the hype that Telstra made about 14.4Mbps capability on NextG, not a single Telstra customer has benefited from these speeds as modems haven’t been available.
“Given the current economic climate, we believe the vast majority of Australians, in particular businesses, will be motivated by value for money over speed when assessing wireless broadband providers. Indeed if you look at the phenomenal growth in wireless broadband usage we’ve experienced in Australia over the past 12 months, this has been driven by prices coming down, not network speeds going up.
“Telstra is already charging $59.95 per month for 1GB of data which is way above the rest of the market (Optus offers 6GB for $59.99). We shudder to think what additional premium they will charge customers to access ‘theoretical’ speeds of 21Mbps.
“At Optus we are focused on bringing affordable wireless broadband to the wider market, not just to the small segment of the population who value speed at any cost, a market that is diminishing rapidly.”
It’s interesting to note that while Buay is correct that no “up to” 14.4Mbps speeds were ever delivered, this is because no 14.4Mbps-class devices were ever delivered to the marketplace, with the fastest having previously been 7.2Mbps-class devices (with real world speeds of 550Kbps to 3Mbps).
Optus is certainly correct that Telstra customers will need to buy new 21Mbps modems to take advantage of the faster speeds, but they are still speeds Optus cannot, as yet, deliver wirelessly.
So, Optus and the others will have to continue competing on price, as they have been doing, while having to be careful not to overburden their networks as happened with the iPhone’s launch, something well documented in the media.
As for Telstra’s pricing, they did take their time to drop prices and introduce “shaped services”, but continue having the benefit of faster speeds and a vastly greater range, which leads to the adage that “you get what you pay for”.
This also extends to the business realm as well. I know that $59.95 gets you 1GB of data on Next G as a consumer, but I also know of ABN holding Telstra Business Next G customers (who conversely don’t get access to BigPond unmetered content) are getting more gigabytes for the money than consumers.
If you’re a Telstra Business customer only getting the same amount of gigabytes as on BigPond Next G consumer plans, you should give your Telstra business contact a call and squeeze a better deal out of them – one business customer I know gets 5GB of Next G for the $59.95 monthly fee.
So… 21Mbps is here at last, 42Mbps is on the way, and the promised land of LTE effectively comes in 2011.
There are clearly doubts out there as to the 21Mbps network being able to replace the proposed National Broadband Network (NBN) “today”, but by the time LTE gets here (which will theoretically be long before NBN building finishes, noting that it hasn’t even started construction yet), could it be enough to make what will be an unfinished NBN irrelevant?
We’ll just have to wait and see. Better to have both a wired, fibre NBN and a wireless LTE network for redundancy across this great nation of ours, rather than only having a single system.
Until then, if you can afford a 21Mbps wireless USB Next G modem, and are happy paying Telstra’s prices, the ability to feel the need for speed (and take full advantage of it) is now available!