Telstra is ramping up its 4G rollout with plans to extending the LTE coverage to 85% of the Australian population by Christmas this year.
The move will allow the Australian incumbent carrier to capitalize on customers’ strong demand for high-speed mobile services.
Telstra said Thursday that it reached its June target of covering 66% of the Australian population with its LTE network, and the company is now looking to expand its footprint to 85% of the population in the next six months.
“Each week, large numbers of customers are choosing a Telstra 4G mobile device to enjoy the superfast speeds that our network offers. We want to make that experience available to even more customers in more places across Australia,” Telstra chief operating officer, Brendon Riley, stated.
Riley said the company will upgrade another 1,500 base stations to LTE-enabled before Christmas, adding to 2,000 already deployed, with a further 200 new towns to get 4G coverage by end of this year.
This will take Telstra 4G service to more than 300 regional locations across the nation, including many popular holiday hotspots, and the number of 4G base stations to more than 3,500 by year-end.
Nicole McCormick, Ovum’s senior analyst for communications and broadband industry, said the boost in the 4G network rollout will put Telstra in the ranks of other Asian telcos such as those from South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong.
“This is the next chapter in Telstra’s LTE network story and it sends a clear message to its rivals: Telstra has the resources to expand LTE coverage beyond an aggressive metro LTE play,” McCormick said in a research note. “We expect Telstra’s regional LTE lead to be further enhanced in early 2015 when Telstra aggressively leverages its new digital dividend 700MHz spectrum in regional Australia.”
In short, she added, Telstra’s extensive LTE reach, underpinned by its wide-reaching 42Mbps HSPA+ network, plans to commercialize LTE Advanced this year and its deep pockets, ensures its network lead card is well and truly safe.