Telstra Has 300,000 4G Customers: Should You Panic Now?

People like speed. People like 4G. According to Telstra, 300,000 devices are now connecting to its 4G network, which currently incorporates 1,000 base stations. That's good news for Telstra shareholders, but it also reflects an inescapable truth about wireless networks: the more customers there are, the slower the overall speed will get.

I've made this point before, and I'll almost certainly be making it again: when wireless networks gain customers, average speeds drop. Will most customers care? Almost certainly not. When you can get an upload speed of 13.74Mbps in capital cities, even a 50 per cent reduction looks good compared to the alternatives.

There are two simple truths here. One: Telstra is the network to beat in terms of speed. Two: wireless speeds will invariably degrade as devices that can access those networks decrease. Make your purchases with that in mind and you'll have a great experience.


Comments

    At least it wont be as noticeable as NextG was due to the frequency-division vs time-division multiplexing.

    "even a 50 per cent reduction looks good compared to the alternatives" - exactly. Getting 5~7 up and 10~20 down at peak in the CBD is still freaking amazing. Out at MEL we hit 20 up 40 down. Win.

    Assume Decrease in the second last line should read Increase.

    There is already a large black hole along the train line from Blacktown to Parramatta. Full signal strength, but no or little downoad speed.

      That's probably because they have a crap backbone line coming into the towers.

    AJ, Sydney's Western Suburbs is not the same as Sydney's CBD.

    Speed? what speed? aaah,you mean if you don't live in regional/rural areas. But the whole thing is such a first world problem isn't it.

    In anticipation of getting a Galaxy SIII for me (and one for my wife), I have been looking at a few plans and I am finding Telstra is a bit too expensive for me. Their prepaid and postpaid plans (and data packs) are quite complicated to compare (deliberately confusing - I have no doubt) - $49 per month is the minimum I can find where they do kilobyte data metering (the other prepaid options don't seem to use KB data metering which is totally dodgy). I can get 1.5 GB data and heaps of calls and texts for $12/m on Optus (LiveConnected.com.au 'Medium' plan). I know Telstra's network is awesome but I am on Optus (Virgin) currently and can put up with their network if it saves me an extra $444 every year over Telstra.

      How about buying the phone outright and going on prepaid for $30? Would that work?

        Yeah investigated that avenue already - I had planned to buy outright and put it on Telstra prepaid. Going by my current usage history the 400MB prepaid plan just isn't enough. 800MB would probably be *just* enough but at $40 per month the TCO (phone+prepaid) is approx the same TCO (postpaid+handset) as the cheapest S3 postpaid plan with 1GB data. So I either pay $38/m for 1GB data (Telstra) or $12/m for 1.5GB data (Optus [LiveConnected]). It's a huge difference just to operate on the better network. If the S3 had launched with 4G then it would be add some food for thought. My maths is probably a bit wrong somewhere :)

    How does Telstra improve their Melbourne CBD 3G speeds? Move customers to the 4G network. Seems smart to me, I've definitely noticed a difference. I think most people would take STABLE medium level transfer rates over peaky fast ones any day.

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