Feb 012017

Yesterday communications vendors Qualcomm, Netgear, Ericsson and Telstra, unveiled their Australian gigabit LTE service that gives users high speed internet connections over the 4G mobile network.

Billed as a world’s first, Telstra will offer customers the Netgear supplied hotspots that can connect up to twenty devices over WiFi.

Listening to the Telstra spiel yesterday, it wasn’t hard to conclude the company is making a pitch for the market frustrated by the National Broadband Network’s tardy rollout and patchy service.

The service doesn’t come cheap though, as Finder’s Alex Kidman points out, an hour’s movie streaming on one device could easily cost $4500 dollars on Telstra’s current plans with one of the company’s executives emphasising the product is “aimed at the premium end of the market.”

Being aimed at the premium end of the market is shame for Qualcomm as their spokespeople were keen to show off the gaming, AR and VR potential of the Snapdragon CPUs driving these devices. It would be a brave or very affluent family that bought one of these devices for their kids given the data costs.

While the Telstra Gigabit LTE service might be an NBN replacement for deep pocketed customers, telco veteran John Lindsay points out the mobile network can’t support too many people doing so unless many more cells are deployed.

For the moment the Telstra service is going to be attractive for companies needing high speed. low volume connections in the central business district and as the gigabit LTE upgrades roll out across the country, it will be useful for travellers as well as frustrated NBN customers.

Ultimately the gigabit LTE product is another step toward the 5G networks that we’ll be seeing appear at the end of the decade, something that both the Ericsson and Telstra PR folk were keen to highlight.

The key message for consumers and businesses is the rate of innovation in the mobile communications market is not slowing and another generation of connected devices is coming that will change things as dramatically as the smartphone did.

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