How To Get An Overseas 4G Phone Working On Telstra’s 4G Network

How To Get An Overseas 4G Phone Working On Telstra’s 4G Network

4G is a confusing mess of standards, and not every phone sold as “4G” overseas will work on any of Australia’s existing 4G networks. Over at Gizmodo, I’ve just reviewed the HTC One XL, an LTE-enabled import smartphone. The first thing to do was to get it working on Telstra’s 4G network, which isn’t a terribly onerous procedure — but it’s not awfully obvious either.

Again, it’s worth restating; not every ‘4G’ phone will work in Australia, thanks to the mix of technologies and/or frequencies that get sold as ‘4G’ internationally. This is why Apple got into trouble with the ACCC, after all. What you need at the time of writing is a phone that uses LTE at 1800Mhz; both Telstra’s current network and Optus’ still-being-tested network use 1800Mhz for regulatory reasons.

Within the phone’s Ice Cream Sandwich settings utility, there’s a network switch (under Settings/Mobile Network/Network Mode) to change the seeking mode to GSM/WCDMA/LTE Auto, but if you choose that, it will automatically flick back to GSM/WCDMA only when you leave the application. The trick is to change the Access Point name; in the case of Telstra, that should be to change it to telstra.internet.

Reboot the phone, change the switch back to GSM/WCDMA/LTE, and as long as you’re in a 4G area and the network gods are smiling on you, you should start getting some sweet (but battery-sapping) 4G data.


  • hypothetically . . .
    If I have a Telstra SIM currently on a NextG plan, and I follow the above instructions on a HTC One XL, would I be able to get 4G, or do I need a plan that allows 4G? Thanks

  • Confirmed via Telstra: You don’t need a specific SIM or Plan; just hardware that supports it (although, technically speaking, Telstra doesn’t have to support an import LTE phone on its network, if that makes sense)

  • NextG has several APNs for different plans, the comment about ‘any nextg sim’ is
    Telstra branded NextG Prepaid data sims I tested were tied to Telstra.datapack instead of Telstra.internet and there were two other APNs programmed into the hardware IIRC.
    They cant magically delete APNs when customers have equipment configured that ont be changed.

  • I just went into an Optus shop here in Perth and confirmed their 4G network is rolling out mid 2012 as per Optus communictaions. One thing the shop person said was:
    “Optus is rolling out a 3plus and not 4G…”
    Does anyone know what this means – e.g. if the technology used by Optus for their ‘4G’ rollout is inferior (to Telstra)?

    • Optus are upgrading their 3G network (like they say they have been for the last 400 years) including rolling out HSPA+ which is a faster way to transfer data, they are also rolling out 3G 900 in metro. They’re branding it as ‘3G PLUS’ and is separate from any LTE “4G” network they will have.

    • How about some contributions to a name & shame’ phone file? Just notmiane who you phoned, when, the circumstances of the call and how long who had to hold for either before you got to speak to whoever you wanted to, or hung up?

  • The only problem here is, for Telstra customers at least, is that there are very few handsets that support LTE “4G” 1800Mhz AND 3G 850Mhz for NextG. Sure you can get a phone with LTE 1800Mhz support and thats great, but go out of LTE coverage, and chances are you will be on the GSM network which covers, oh, about 1.5million sqkm LESS than NextG. And its REAL slow, especially in comparison to LTE.

    Not trying to scare people off, just warning them 🙂 – hardware compatibility will be a huge problem with all the possible LTE bands available for use.

  • one thing i had to do on my samsung galaxy SII 4G i imported is to change the network from “3Telstra”which would only give me H+ reception (or 3.5 as it is known) to “Telstra Mobile” which has enabled the 4G

  • @Alex (OP),

    Thanks a lot for this! I spend hours searching the web, phoning Telstra (always a disaster), and visiting their ‘tech’ bar (might as well be called an idiot bar) trying to get 4g to work on my phone…all that was needed was changing telstra.iph to telstra.internet in the APN settings….thanks again!

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