There’s a new speed king in town, or it will be in the next few weeks, as Telstra announces that it will support the Samsung Note 5 and S6 Edge+ on Category 9 LTE.
So you’re probably wondering: just what is Category 9 LTE, and what will it mean for you?
High-speed 4G connectivity tends to be broken down into categories, with each of these relating to the type of technology it uses and the speeds that are possible from this tech.
In Australia, we have primarily seen three or four types of 4G LTE technology in the past few years, starting with Category 2, moving to Category 3 fairly quickly thereafter, progressing to Category 4, and more recently Category 6.
This might seem like a bunch of numbers, and to the regular person we could see why, but these numbers translate into download and upload speeds with real-world information.
As a heads up, 100Mbps is the maximum speed more fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) NBN connections can get, making 4G semi-comparable to the NBN, except for the fact that 4G speeds are rarely held at these speeds, and are based on tower proximity, the amount of people using the service in the area you’re in, reception, and the device in question.
Upload speeds also were pretty solid here, boasting as much as 50Mbps, faster than the 1Mbps most people on ADSL2 connections are still seeing, making it ideal for uploading files in a jiffy.
These high speeds on Category 3 4G devices were good enough, but Category 4 improved this a good 50Mbps, pushing it up to 150Mbps as a maximum for downloads and keeping uploads the same.
“This 4G super-highway on our 4GX service is capable of peak network speeds of up to 450Mbps,” he said. “Since then we have been optimising our network configuration and testing new devices ready for launch. This is a proud milestone for us to be able to confirm the first products compatible with this high-performance LTE-Advanced technology.”
As a comparison, the average Australian ADSL2+ customer gets between 5 and 12Mbps on downloads, and this is a good 40 times that on downloads, or up to anyway, with as much as 45 to 50 times the 1Mbps upload speed that customer also receives.
Based on what we’ve seen on previous 4G tests, we suspect the average customer will receive closer to 100 to 300Mbps downloads using Category 9 and closer 40Mbps on upload, but the speeds should still be very impressive all the same.
In fact, this writer is a little concerned how quickly he’ll blow out his downloads when he tests speeds for 4G tests.
Right now, that’s not an issue, but it will be when the phones arrive, because we’re told this high-speed connection technology should be good to go when those two phones launch, which might only be a matter of weeks away.
As for the other major telcos, we’ve contacted both Optus and Vodafone to find out if or when either will support the Category 9 technology, and so far neither have come back with an answer. Optus has told GadgetGuy it will be selling both new Galaxy phones, but hasn’t said if Category 9 will be supported, while Vodafone has been pretty silent on the topic.
We’ll let you know when either open their mouths to say more, but right now, Telstra may well be taking the crown for the fastest network in Australia if it’s the only one with support for Category 9 tech.