What difference does an “x” mean for a name? If you’re Telstra, it means “extreme speeds” and “extra coverage,” two of the things the telco wants to communicate with its network, now branded 4GX.
It’s not enough to have a 4G network these days, it seems.
No, with Optus having a 4G network and Vodafone improving with its own high-speed 4G network, Telstra isn’t alone anymore with a way of supplying super fast download and upload speeds to customers with a demand for mobile goods to go.
But Telstra does have some interesting technologies to offer, and now that it has 4G working on the 700MHz spectrum as well as that of the 1800MHz, it wants an easy way to communicate this to customers, and that’s where a new name comes into picture.
“As humans we love technology that allows us to go faster and connect in the moment. 4GX sets a new benchmark in mobile internet speeds in Australia allowing people to download, share, stream, and connect faster and more reliably than ever,” said Andrew Volard, Director of Devices at Telstra.
Yes, “4GX” is the name Telstra will be using to send out information at high speeds using a cross-section of technologies, with the 1800MHz LTE we’ve been using for a couple of years working with the roll-out of the 700MHz stuff to get 4G LTE working out of the city and into rural areas due to the lower frequency, while also feeding its way into tighter places, such as inside buildings and even elevators.
The new name will likely do for Telstra what the “NextG” 3.5G network name did several years ago, providing a brand for future services to work under, such as Voice-over LTE, which Telstra says it is working on.
Telstra even demonstrated the concept this week, making a call from Sydney over to another Telstra employee in Perth using Samsung’s Galaxy S5, which Telstra has said is compatible with the Voice-over LTE (VoLTE) technology that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus also have inside.
HD video calling was also shown (above), with pretty clear video utilising a live conferencing technology that will finally make use of those HD and Full HD front-facing cameras we have in our phones.
Both technologies will be coming, but won’t truly be effective until more devices support it, meaning more upgraded handsets with VoLTE and high-res front-facing cameras on-board ready to take the calls utilising either technology.
Telstra has said it has plans to launch VoLTE next year, though, which could well be enough time for handsets to catch up and be ready for this next generation of voice technology, which allows customers to use the high-speed 4G data networks for higher quality voice transmissions.
Likewise, we should see HD video next year, though we can’t say exactly when.
Until then, however, Telstra’s 4GX will be about reaching as many people with as much speed as possible, with Category 6 technologies now being employed across Australian, meaning compatible devices should see speeds as high as 300Mbps, though more likely between 75 and 150Mbps down, and as much as 50Mbps up.
Capital cities can expect to see it first, with 4GX already active in parts of Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Hobart, and Darwin, as well as some regional places, with Melbourne expected to get 4GX in the next few weeks when the analogue TV services are completely cut out. Other parts of Australia will get it soon, too, with Brisbane activating this week, also.
All capital cities can expect it from January 1, 2015, as well as 50 regional locations, with more to come through an expanded network gradually over time.