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Telstra sets date, but not speeds, for 4G LTE release

Mobile fans hold their breath

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Telstra is bringing forward its first LTE-based service, from the end-of-year launch promised in February, to the end of this month.

The carrier, which is taking registrations from interested customers now, will be kicked off with a shipment of 2,000 modems, according to newswires.

Australia’s mobile carriers started testing 4G wireless systems earlier this year, but the announcement makes Telstra the first to go live with customer services. However, perhaps with an eye to repeated concerns expressed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission about the accuracy of promotions based on claimed data rates, the carrier has decided not to attach any speed promises to its launch.

Initially, customers will only be able to connect 4G services within a few kilometers of the CBDs of Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.

Potential punters hoping that the 4G service would give them an excuse never to leave their favourite city café will be disappointed, though: the devices will be dual-mode, able to fall back to the 3G network in the five-nines percentage of the country not serviced by 4G at launch.

A customer on the standard Telstra mobile broadband plan, which offers 7 GB of downloads for $49 per month should, if the 4G network delivers speeds of (for example) 50 Mbps, be able to zap through the monthly quota during the first coffee.

Under its agreement with the Australian government and NBN Co, Telstra has agreed not to promote 4G services as a replacement for fibre-based fixed services. ®

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