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Telstra amps up 4G speeds

Telstra’s mobile networks may have been a source of sorrow for some of the telco’s users but those in North Queensland and South Australia are set to receive a welcome boost in their 4G speeds.

With up to 200 sites in the two regions doubling their 4G capacity, Telstra’s networks boss Mike Wright said that customers are set to see a significant uptick in speed and quality.

The 4G boost comes courtesy of the additional 1800 MHz spectrum Telstra has managed to secure in regional areas across Australia.

Telstra had invested $191 million to secure 57 blocks of spectrum in the 1800 MHz band, more than any other bidder, during the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) auction in February this year. This spectrum acquisition adds to the purchase of 700 MHz and 2600 MHz spectrum — double that of any other bidder — in the 2013 digital dividend auctions at a cost of $1.3 billion.

Mr Wright said the service improvement in North Queensland and South Australia is just the beginning.

“As we obtain full access to the spectrum we purchased at auction this will include delivering 4G speed boosts to customers in other areas including Canberra, Darwin, Dubbo, Albury, Tasmania, and many more,” Mr Wright said.

“This latest investment at least doubles and in some places triples the amount of spectrum in the 1800 MHz band that we may use to provide 4G services in some areas.”

Improving the performance of its 4G services is critical for Telstra as it strives to maintain the supremacy of its mobile network in face of mounting pressure. A spate of embarrassing outages in the last five months has raised question marks about the overall health of Telstra’s networks and whether the hefty price premium paid by its customers is justified.

Earlier this month, consumer advocacy group Choice said that Telstra has failed to justify the high prices it charges for its services and alleging that some Telstra customers were paying a premium of as much as 92 per cent for their broadband and mobile service. The claim was categorically rejected by Telstra which criticised Choice for basing its flawed analysis on cherrypicked data.

Some of the areas that are already benefiting from the 4G speed boost are Cairns, Townsville, Ayr, Innisfail, Port Douglas, Mossman, Ingham and Charters Towers in North Queensland. Meanwhile in South Australia, the towns of Ceduna, Port Lincoln, Coffin Bay, Port Pirie, Whyalla, Victor Harbour, Goolwa, Renmark, Mount Gambier and Robe have seen services improve.

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