Home Your Tech Mobility Telstra's Next G at 42Mbps - two carriers for the price of one!
Ok, ok, so I'm taking liberties with the 'Dual Carrier' nature of Telstra's world beating, world first Next G HSPA+ network, but the gap between Telstra and its competitors has now grown into a massive chasm that could send competitors into fits of spasm.

When Telstra last launched its 21Mbps Next G upgrade and new modems, we saw that real world speeds would jump up to 8Mbps in speed, but now that the theoretical 42Mbps barrier has been broken in the real world, what will real world speeds now be?

As you may have already read, Telstra made its announcement at the Barcelona Mobile World Congress, sans embattled Telstra CEO David Thodey who has decided to stay in Australia to continue battling the Government for control of and access to the NBN.

But with Telstra leading the world in ever faster wireless networks, and with Google announcing plans to create a fibre network 10 times faster than the NBN, one can only wonder whether the B in NBN really stands for 'Boondoggle' or even more plainly, pure ol' BS.

Still, that's a topic for another story, with the spotlight, limelight and any other kind of light you can imagine being shone on Telstra's announcement of the 'completion' of the upgrade of its existing Next G HSPA+ network to the new 'Dual Carrier' technology that blends two 21Mbps channels together to deliver that theoretical 42Mbps.

Given that the existing 21Mbps modems deliver 'up to' 8Mbps of real world speed, a 42Mbps connection should deliver up to 16Mbps of real world speeds, in ideal conditions, with Telstra saying that it 'expects customers using the device will experience typical speeds in selected locations around double those seen with the fastest 3G devices available in Australia today.'

Previously mentioned and embattled CEO, David Thodey, was probably due to announce the following in Barcelona, but did it in a press release instead: 'The completion of the HSPA+ Dual Carrier upgrade will mean a better customer experience in areas of high demand, making the Telstra Next G network better placed to deal with the capacity demands that are causing headaches for other carriers around the world".

While there's no indication of actual pricing for the modem itself, nor any potential surcharges or otherwise for the speedy service, Telstra promises that the 42Mbps Next G modem, manufactured by Sierra Wireless, will go 'on sale in Australia later this year'.

So, what comes next in Telstra's almost supercilious sprint to seductively supersonic speeds? Please read on to page 2...

As you'd expect, 42Mbps isn't the end of the line for Telstra's HSPA+ network.

No, there are already plans to offer theoretical 84Mbps speeds by 2011 using the HPSA+ Dual Carrier plus MIMO technology, and with Telstra also planning its own LTE network, while on the verge of offering LTE-like speeds in the near future.

As an example, Thodey thundered thusly: 'With HSPA+ Dual Carrier technology we expect to offer speeds that are comparable to the initial speeds we have seen reported from some fledgling 4G LTE networks. Put simply HSPA+ Dual Carrier will give Australians the bandwidth to operate their wireless devices at consistently high speeds."

He continued, remarking that: "While LTE remains on Telstra's technology roadmap there is a huge amount of potential remaining in HSPA+. We will take full advantage of this by again doubling our peak network speeds to 84Mbps through the implementation of HSPA+ Dual Carrier plus MIMO technology during 2011.'

Given the larger than normal USB-stick size of the new HSPA+ modem to accommodate that dual carrier technology, it's hard to see how it will fit into today's generation of smartphones, leaving aside the battery life sucking characteristics of going so blazingly fast over a wireless connection, but if the trend towards continual minituarisation continues apace, it might take a couple of years, but it surely will happen.

So, if you feel the need, the need for speed'¦ then you'll have to slam on the brakes until Telstra's 42Mbps HSPA+ USB modem comes to market, or cruise along with a 21Mbps model until then, while waiting for Optus and Vodafone (with 3) to start making some super speedy announcements of their own!


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.


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