Telstra has announced that its Gigabit-class (~1000Mbps) LTE network is now operational, making Australia the first country to see ultrafast Gigabit speeds on a commercial cellular network.
Initially it will not be accessible from mobile phones, requiring a Netgear Nighthawk M1 mobile modem router which will be available for purchase from mid-to-late February.
The Gigabit download speed is ten times faster than the 100 Megabit maximum speed offered on NBN plans, however Telstra has noted that the Gigabit download speed was a theoretical value and in reality wireless speeds will not reach this, especially with thousands of devices connected to the network.
Tests were conducted in Brisbane and Melbourne, which showed that speeds of 5Mbps to 300Mbps were achievable in a mixed radio environment.
According to Telstra, speed is not the only benefit – there is also the prospect of lower latency and the ability for up to 20 devices to access the network through one connection.
It is a key step towards 5G, according to the company.
While current Australian smartphones are unable to access the network, it is estimated that Gigabit LTE-enabled phones will come into the market in the second half of this year.
The network will initially be installed in Australian CBDs and other high traffic areas.