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.
For instance, if you bought a 4G phone when they first appeared in Australia, you very likely found yourself using a Category 2 device with speeds of up to 50Mbps, with Category 3 devices arriving next with speeds up to 100Mbps.
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.
Category 6 arrived last year, pushing the download speed one more time to a maximum of 300Mbps and keeping the upload the same (50Mbps), making us wonder if we were all spoiled for speed.
You don’t see these speeds often, either, but at least if you have the right device, it is technically possible to get them.
This week’s announcement, however, truly spoils us.
Category 9 is another improvement again, and while Telstra hinted it last year, it will be here shortly on Telstra’s 4GX network, rocking another improvement to download speeds and delivering as much as 450Mbps down and 50Mbps up to supported areas.