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The race to deploy 4G services in Australia (whether or not 4G truly exists) continues, with Telstra claiming first place.

The carrier has flicked the switch on its initial LTE enabled base stations in Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane. The Ericsson supplied 4G network is set to become the first LTE service to launch in the Australian market.

The LTE distinction is important, since ISP Vividwireless also claims to have the country's first live 4G network. Telstra is using FD-LTE (frequency division multiplexing) while Vivid uses TD-LTE (time division multiplexing).

Telstra and Ericsson have been conducting field trials since announcing the deployment in mid-February.

Telstra Networks and Access Technologies executive director Mike Wright said the first batches of 4G data has been sent over the network for the first time outside of field trials.

Telstra will upgrade its existing Next G network with LTE technology in the CBDs of all capital cities and selected regional centres by the end of 2011.

“With more than a million mobile and wireless broadband customers joining Telstra in the past 12 months, and data usage on the Next G network doubling every year, the increased network capacity LTE will provide is vital,” Wright said.

The upgrade uses Ericsson’s RBS 6000 base station, with the mobile backhaul network to be upgraded to the Enhanced Packet Core standard to support the 42 Mbps maximum speeds offered by the technology.

“By the end of 2011, Telstra said it would be selling dual mode LTE/HSPA+ mobile broadband devices that will operate across the 1800MHz and 850MHz spectrum bands. Sierra Wireless is developing the dual mode mobile broadband devices.

“Our customers benefit through having access to more than 2.1m square kilometres of coverage across Australia, and the fastest upload and download speeds with our HSPA+ network. We are maintaining this benefit by moving to deploy the first mobile 4G network in Australia,” Wright said.

Last month rival Optus announced http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/04/20/nsn_opus_upgrade/ that it would also be deploying LTE services after securing a ‘multi-million dollar’ deal with Nokia Siemens Networks as its sole packet core vendor. The carrier has been trialing LTE services since 2010 but has yet to commit to a rollout date. ®

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