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    Telstra and Optus Force Customers to Upgrade Phones or Miss out on new 4G Networks

    From Richard Giles

    Telstra and Optus Force Customers to Upgrade Phones or Miss out on new 4G Networks

    JULY 29, 2014


    Get ready for an upgrade if you want to access 4G.

    AUSTRALIA’S two biggest telcos will force customers to upgrade their phones and tablets to use new 4G networks as the network additions do not support most smartphones, including Apple iPhones and flagship smartphones from Sony and Nokia.
    Vodafone criticised new 4G networks from Telstra and Optus today while announcing its own 4G extension that it promises will cover “95 per cent of Australia’s metropolitan population” by the end of the year.

    All three companies are extending 4G mobile network coverage in Australia using frequencies once used to deliver analog TV signals.
    But while Vodafone’s new 850MHz 4G network can be used by most existing smartphones and tablets, networks introduced by Telstra and Optus use the 700MHz spectrum that cannot be used by Apple iPhones or iPads, flagship phones from Sony and Nokia, and most handsets from Samsung, HTC, and LG.

    Vodafone chief technology officer Benoit Hanssen said the lack of compatible devices for these 4G networks would force some customers to upgrade their smartphones or suffer slower connection speeds.
    “Nearly all smartphones that have been sold since the introduction of 4G in Australia do not support the APT-700MHz spectrum (used by Telstra and Optus),” Mr Hanssen said.

    “Customers on other networks will therefore require a new device in order to experience low-band 4G services.”
    Telstra recently began trials of its new 4G network in six Australian areas – Perth, Fremantle, and Esperance in Western Australia, Mildura in Victoria, Griffith in New South Wales, and Mt Isa in Queensland.

    Optus is trialling its new 4G network in the central business districts of Perth and Darwin, with plans to introduce a “national 4G 700MHz network in future”.

    But a Telstra spokesman confirmed only a handful of devices were able to use these networks in Australia currently.
    “Some of our most popular smartphones are 700MHz-ready including the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8, and the LG G3 which arrives in-store next week,” the spokesman said.

    “By year’s end we expect to offer more than ten 4G 700MHz-compatible devices from some of the world’s most popular device brands.”
    Phones including the Apple iPhone 5S and 5C, Sony’s Xperia Z2, and Nokia’s newly launched Lumia 930 are incompatible with the 700MHz 4G networks.

    All three lower spectrum 4G networks should deliver better 4G penetration including more reliable internet connections inside buildings.

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