Tagged With lte

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.

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It's the 1st of January -- happy new year -- and with it, the 700Mhz spectrum that used to be used for analogue TV broadcasts is now open for carriers to utilise. Optus has announced the rollout of more than 270 700Mhz sites across Australia.

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Is Vodafone's 4G any good? It entirely depends on where you're located. Our five-city speed tests show the CBD areas of Sydney and Brisbane offer impressive speeds, but 4G doesn't have as much of a speed boost in Perth, Adelaide or Melbourne, and lower-speed 3G coverage remains the norm at airports.

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Over the past week, I've been testing the performance of Vodafone's brand-new 4G network in Sydney and Melbourne. The verdict? It's sometimes very fast, but coverage is fairly limited, the existing Vodafone 3G network seems as flaky as ever, and it still suffers sometimes from the 'Vodafone moment': that point where the service suddenly becomes hopelessly slow and you want to stick a knife into anything sporting a Vodafone logo.

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Telstra is planning to introduce a 900MHz version of Next G to help it expand its 4G network in regional areas. Will that be enough to help it maintain decent 4G speeds, and will you need a new device to use it? The short answer: probably yes for your phone, possibly no for your mobile broadband.

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Telstra has announced plans to release upgraded 4G dongles and handsets that will offer theoretical speeds of up to 150Mbps. Yet the very large difference between the theoretical maximum and what users can actually expect to receive reminds us that however useful they are, mobile networks have inherent speed maximisation issues.

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Fancy getting some high-speed 4G on your handset but don't want to sign up for a contract? Optus has launched its prepaid 4G plans, offering options for both handset owners with a 4G-compatible device and a prepaid 4G Wi-Fi modem and dongle.

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Alongside Melbourne and Sydney, Perth is the third Australian capital to have rival 4G LTE services from both Telstra and Optus. When it comes to performance, there's actually a clear winner, but the main lesson continues to be that 4G services vary hugely in the performance they can offer -- even within the radius of a block.

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"Why do we need faster networks anyway?" is a constant refrain on talkback radio. The use of LTE mobile networks for police, fire and ambulance services provides a compelling answer to that question and much of the technology needed already exists, but there are many hurdles to overcome before public safety services can make use of them.

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If you take a 4G device along to the AFL Grand Final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground this Saturday, Lifehacker's testing suggests you will potentially see some impressive speeds on both the Telstra and Optus networks. But it will depend on whether you're seated on the northern or southern side.