As you may or may not be aware, but near the start of 2017, Telstra tested and launched the world’s first mobile network that is able to download HD movies and TV shows in a matter of seconds. Say what? Did anyone else miss the memo on this? It seems many of us did.
Before we get too ahead of ourselves on the matter and make our readers think this service will be available to everyone, it is important to understand that prior to February, theses network capabilities were only tested and shown to be reliable but not necessarily ready for an extremely high volume of users quite yet. While the news of this release was exciting at the time, it was only made available to part of Telstra’s network in selected cities. The rest of Australia will have to wait for the time being.
Telstra, together with Netgear, Ericsson, Qualcomm, successfully tested their LTE mobile capabilities and speed and announced in late January that the service was going to be released to Australian consumers at the end of February, 2017. The question is, did you know you that could now download your favorite TV show in a matter of seconds?
Like many, you’re probably wondering exactly how fast the mobile download speeds are. To illustrate, a one-hour long TV show can be downloaded in less than seconds. Incredibly fast, right? How about having the ability to download a 3GB HD movie in 3 minutes? Telstra began allowing customers access up to 1Gpbs of download speeds and up to 150Mbps of upload speeds over Telstra’s 4G network.
As a comparison, prior to offering these insanely fast speeds, the network only offered a maximum of 100Mbps, which at the time, was at about 10 percent of the network’s capabilities. One of the major reasons it has taken some time to be able to offer these high speeds was largely due to reliability. The capabilities were there but the network needed further testing in order to ensure it was reliable before making promises the network would not be able to deliver to consumers on a consistent basis.
Naturally, media and other industry members were impressed with what Telstra could do and looked forward to the release into Australia’s telco market.
How to Access Fast Download Speeds
Many people may be wondering if they can access their favorite TV show or movie to their handheld device using these high download speeds on their mobile network, and unfortunately not at the moment as this is basically for home use, for the time being anyway. Sine LTE stands for “Long Term Evolution”, the company and the industry does expect to see these capabilities being offered to mobile devices at a later time, but we are not quite there yet.
So, how and where can consumers take advantage of such fast download speeds? Through the use of a Nighthawk M1 device that used one SIM card that has the ability to connect to more than one 4G band. The device is pocket-sized and can connect up to 20 devices to the internet all at the same time. Basically, from wherever Telstra’s network can be accessed, users will be able to access the internet and enjoy super fast download speeds across multiple devices (up to 20 at the same time).
For $360 in upfront costs or through a range of plans, you and the entire family can connect your devices and enjoy unprecedented download speeds. Each family member can now enjoy their favorite TV shows or movies without having to fight over the remove or argue about what to watch.
The Ultimate Goal
One of the main reasons Telstra developed, improved, tested, and launched this service was largely due to the fact that the telco firm wanted to help prepare consumers for what will come in the near future of telco capabilities.
For example, the Telstra’s device management director released the following statement in reference to this, “It’s going help people further embrace a new breed of mobile applications and experiences including immersive virtual reality, connected cloud computing and rich entertainment, and it brings us one step closer to introducing 5G in Australia.”
The downside to all of this is (and was) the real-world experience was definitely going to operate much slower for a variety of reasons.
The Network Today
Fast forward to today (7-8 months after release), the 4G trend has definitely caught the attention of the industry with all other providers in Australia on board—Vodafone being the last to jump on the bandwagon.
The 4G network has been respectively packaged and sold as the 4GX or 4G Plus network and the latest smartphone releases were created with these capabilities in mind so they are ready and fully compatible for when the 4G network expands into more rural locations since a high percentage of smartphone users will have already made the switch to one of the latest releases.
Not much else has changed in terms of service coverage over the past few months as coverage areas are still quite limited and users must be in a designated 4GX coverage area in order to access the services. However, there is still more progress expected to be made in the coming months and years as the demand for faster download and upload speeds will only continue to increase and those not living within major city limits have been chomping at the the bit in order to have access to this service.
The great news for those in the Queensland is that the service is widely available, however, Telstra cannot guarantee that every single area or building will have anything outside or normal network services. Visiting one of the Telstra shops in Melbourne and the surrounding areas to inquire about the available services in your area will help consumers understand what they have access in their coverage area.
It is clear that the release of the 4GX/Plus network changed the market and has it prepared consumers for what will come next. With this in mind, it is also evident that telco in general still isn’t operating at the level industry leaders have hyped up consumers for. Time will only tell where the future of 4G and 5G networks end up, in which case, those of us who are still operating on 3G networks and capabilities will need to continue to remain patient as the more advanced network services we’re all waiting for eventually reach our areas, which is a telltale sign that companies are not ready for the network expansion just yet, but many hope that will soon change.