Faster than a speed­ing bul­let.

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page - writes Jen­nifer Dud­ley- Nicholson

DOWN­LOAD­ING web­sites, pho­tos or any­thing on the go is now a lot faster.

Me­dia down­loaded with a mo­bile mo­dem can ap­pear up to three times as fast af­ter Tel­stra launched its fourth gen­er­a­tion ( 4G) mo­bile phone net­work late last month.

The 4G net­work of­fers down­load speeds as fast as 70 megabits a sec­ond with sig­nif­i­cantly shorter de­lays, al­low­ing users to down­load TV shows, stream songs or pull down up­dates with­out hes­i­ta­tion.

The net­work is avail­able within 5km of Aus­tralia’s eight cap­i­tal cities and can be ac­cessed with a mo­bile broad­band mo­dem, though com­pat­i­ble smart­phones are in de­vel­op­ment.

In Tas­ma­nia, the 4G net­work cov­er­age is avail­able in cen­tral Ho­bart.

Com­pe­ti­tion is also on the way with Op­tus an­nounc­ing it will jump on the 4G band­wagon next year and Voda­fone re­veal­ing plans to launch a 4G net­work when de­vices can sup­port it.

Ex­perts say 4G net­works could be a ‘‘ game-changer’’ for in­ter­net users for their data speeds and the abil­ity to free-up 3G phone net­works.

But an­a­lysts warn ini­tial speeds could fall if the net­work proves pop­u­lar and 4G ser­vices may not be fast or re­li­able enough to re­place a wired broad­band con­nec­tion.

Tel­stra be­gan tri­alling its 4G net­work in Syd­ney, Mel­bourne and Bris­bane on Au­gust 29, reusing the fre­quency ded­i­cated to the 2G phone net­work and is­su­ing 2000 4G USB modems.

IDC Aus­tralia re­search di­rec­tor Dustin Ke­hoe says the 4G net­work could be in­valu­able for mo­bile work­ers but could also open up new mul­ti­me­dia ser­vices for con­sumers.

‘‘ It has yet to be proven in Aus­tralia, but I’ve seen some amaz­ing speeds com­ing out of Swe­den with LTE and the US,’’ Ke­hoe says. ‘‘ It’s a def­i­nite game-changer. ‘‘ De­pend­ing on who you talk to, it could of­fer speeds of 100 megabits per sec­ond and la­tency [ de­lays] be­low 20 mil­lisec­onds.

‘‘ That opens up a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties to ser­vices like mo­bile TV and other data-heavy ap­pli­ca­tions.’’

While the 4G net­works are only avail­able on com­put­ers now, Tel­syte re­search di­rec­tor Foad Fadaghi says it might only be months be­fore smart­phones use the high-speed net­works.

‘‘ All the pop­u­lar hand­sets will have LTE in the fu­ture, while be­ing able to fall back on the 3G net­works too,’’ Fadaghi says.

‘‘ It won’t be too long be­fore we see multi-band de­vices – within 12 months they will be pop­u­lar.’’

But Fadaghi says mov­ing heavy data users off the 3G mo­bile net­work will also de­liver a speed boost to ex­ist­ing smart­phone users.

In ad­di­tion to Tel­stra, Op­tus plans to launch a com­pet­ing net­work by next April. Voda­fone has also com­mit­ted to launch­ing a 4G ( LTE) net­work, fol­low­ing a trial near New­cas­tle late last year.

The com­pany has yet to re­lease launch dates, how­ever chief ex­ec­u­tive has Nigel Dews stated it will not ar­rive un­til com­pat­i­ble de­vices ‘‘ are avail­able at mass-mar­ket prices’’.

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