Telstra's full-year financial results, released today, confirm that it has sold 375,000 4G devices since launching its 4G network in September last year. That demonstrates how much we value having high-speed connections on the go, but there's an unfortunate sting: the more people using it, the slower it gets.
I made the same point back in May (when the number of signed-up 4G customers was 300,000). The speeds on 4G are still going to be better than the 3G alternatives, but as more people sign up, they will inevitably decline. Telstra is investing heavily in network expansion, but there's a limit to how many towers it can deploy.
That said, 4G benefits customers who don't have devices connected to it, since demand on the 3G network is reduced if people are using the 4G alternative. That's harder to quantify in terms of the speed of your individual connection, but it's a definite benefit.
Telstra's current estimate is that its 4G network covers 40 per cent of the Australian population. That gives it broader scope than Optus' recently-launched rival 4G network or Vodafone's not happening until 2013 proposal.