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Tuesday, 15 February 2011 04:56

Telstra to launch LTE by end 2011

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Telstra will have LTE services available in capital city CBDs and major regional centres operating at 1800MHz and using network infrastructure from incumbent supplier Ericsson and dual LTE/HSPA USB dongles from Sierra Wireless by the end of 2011.

Telstra last year undertook separate trials of LTE in partnership with Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia Siemens Networks. Telstra's decision to go with Ericsson will be particularly galling for Huawei as its trial with Telstra was designed specifically to test out the use of 1800MHz for LTE.

Michael Rocca, Telstra chief operations officer, said at the time: "Our trials with Huawei are giving us valuable insights into the potential of LTE technology at 1800MHz and helping Telstra understand how we can make best use of both existing and potential future spectrum assets to continue to deliver a world class mobile broadband service."

Ericsson said it would supply all the LTE radio sites using its new multi-standard radio base station, RBS 6000, and would upgrade and expand Telstra's existing packet core network into an evolved packet core network to support the new LTE radio network. "Services included in the contract are network rollout, design, integration and learning services," Ericsson said.

The initial service will use Telstra's existing 1800MHz spectrum. Telstra says that, by the end of 2011, it plans to sell dual mode LTE/HSPA+ mobile broadband devices that will operate seamlessly across the 1800MHz and 850MHz spectrum ranges, giving customers the benefits of LTE where it is available. It adds: "The planned upgrade will not require incremental investment to existing plans, instead being funded from Telstra's existing budget for capital expenditure."

Announcing the planned upgrade at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Telstra CEO, David Thodey, said that Telstra would also upgrade parts of its network with HSPA+ technologies. Telstra already provides services at 42Mbps using HSPA+ and a further upgrade will take this to 84Mbps.

A Telstra spokesman told ExchangeDaily "We've said before we will look to use this technology in the future and this is a re-affirmation of our commitment. It's on our roadmap but our timing will come down to device availability."

r this month Ericsson announced a number of HSPA demonstrations in its labs, saying "The first commercial network implementations of single-carrier HSPA with 42Mbps and dual-carrier HSPA with 84Mbps can be expected during 2011, followed by higher HSPA speed implementations later on."

Telstra said it was working with network, chipset and device vendors, in conjunction with the Global Suppliers Association (GSA) and the GSM Association (GSMA) "to establish a global industry group to champion and guide the development of the 4G ecosystem at 1800MHz."

Telstra and Ericsson will feature in a GSMA-hosted seminar during the Mobile World Congress "to show how an integrated LTE and HSPA+ network can be effectively and economically deployed by operators."

In a report published last October, Diane Northfield and Phil Marshall from Tolaga Research said: "LTE trial activity using 1800MHz is also evident in a growing number of nations'¦The increased use of the 1800MHz band for LTE will rapidly drive ecosystem development initiatives for use in mass market offerings. This is further aided by current and emerging radio technologies which reduce complexities in bringing multiband solutions to market."

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