What you need to know about 4G
Before purchasing a SIM, modem, antenna, cables, etc it's important to understand the differences that separates 4G LTE from other networks.
What is 4G ?
4G is a (Fourth Generation) high speed data service that uses the LTE radio standard to operate on mobile phone technology. It's critical to understand that 4G is an internet (packet) service, and as well as being used to make and receive phone calls also known as HD Voice providing enhanced Video Calling and Wi-Fi Calling on the Telstra 4G, 4GX & Optus 4G & 4G+ Networks.
Compatible 4G, 4GX & 4G+ calling devices
If you have one of these devices with up-to-date software, you’ll be among many now experiencing the benefits of HD Calling. Please note: if you have Call Select, Call Manager and/or Mobile VPN on your service, your service will not be migrated to HD Calling.
- Apple iPhone 6 onwards, Apple Watch 3 onwards
- Samsung Galaxy devices, S7 onwards, Note 5 onwards, A5 onwards
- Google Pixel devices
- LG devices G5 onwards
- Telstra Signature Premium & Enhanced devices
- Sony devices Xperia Z5 onwards
And, more and more devices will support HD Calling as it becomes adopted as the new standard.
Telstra vs Optus vs Vodafone - Network Comparison
All three major network operators in Australia provide 4G networks. Telstra currently has the largest network with 4G being available in all metro areas, including over 300 regional towns across Australia. Optus is heavily investing in their 4G network and is fast closing the gap, with plans to cover over 200 regional towns by early 2015. Vodafone is working hard on their network, but at the moment is only available in select areas in capital cities.
Telstra 4G and 4GX
Back in 2015 Telstra started launching their 4G network expansion which included two additional carrier frequencies - 700MHz and 2600MHz, on top of their existing 1800MHz network which is now being shut down in a lot of areas. The expansion, coined 4GX, provided significantly more capacity, meaning less congestion and faster average speeds. Using Carrier Aggregation the 4GX network will also allow compatible 4G modems to operate on all three frequencies at once, increasing maximum peak speeds - theoretically as high as 300Mbps (using 3x 20MHz carriers).
Just like Telstra, Optus too begun the rollout of their 700 and 2600MHz LTE networks which supported carrier aggregation, providing faster average and peak data rates. Both networks aim for & achieved 90% population coverage in 2015. The network gets a little confusing with Optus also operating a 2300MHz 4G service in select areas such as Canberra.
Not having purchased any 700MHz spectrum, Vodafone instead to convert their existing 850MHz 3G network into a 4G LTE network instead to compete with the new Telstra and Optus long range networks. This network runs in parallel with their existing 1800MHz 4G network.
What's so great about the new frequency bands?
With so many changes to 4G in Australia, it's an exciting time to jump on board a 4G network.We have seen the 700MHz 4G network switched on by Telstra and Optus in early 2015.
This network is a game changer - one of the major drawbacks with the older 1800MHz 4G network has been its high carrier frequency doesn't travel particularly far and doesn't penetrate well indoors. 700MHz on the other hand having such a low frequency travels significantly further, bends around and behind hills, and penetrates much easier inside buildings, providing coverage similar to Telstra Next-G 850Mhz - meaning high speed data will now be available as far as you can make a phone call (in 4GX areas).
There's not a lot of publicity about the new 2600MHz 4G network, but despite having a very short range it's important to help reduce congestion in densely populated areas such as city centres where the operation of a long range transmitter would have considerable self interference (due to the long reuse distance required).
Concepts such as MIMO, antenna type, and selection will be discussed further in the relevant menu product categories below
Thanks to our Partner Telco Antennas.