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Telstra launches new Next G network - What's New? Telstra launches new Next G network

06 October 2006
Reported by David Hall

Approximately 10 months ago Telstra set out to create the largest mobile broadband network in Australia. Today, that $1 billion network went live. Under the name of Next G, the network is an 850MHz 3G network which reaches remote locations like Broome (WA), Cape Byron (NSW), and Thursday Island. The network brings voice and broadband services to approximately 98% of the population.

The Next G network launch goes hand-in-hand with the closure of the current CDMA network, which is due for complete closure in 2008. The word from Telstra is that the Next G network coverage will be just as good, if not better, than the older CDMA network.

The Next G network is actually a High Speed Downlink Packet Access network (also known as HSDPA), a technology that has been live in many Asian countries for years. HSDPA networks are an evolution of WCDMA networks (what most 3G providers use at the moment), and is sometimes referred to as 3.5G. The current Next G network in Australia offers an average of 550Kbp/s – 1.5Mbp/s, with bursts of up to 3.6Mbp/s. Mr Carl-Henric Svanberg (President and Chief Executive Officer of Ericsson) said today at the ‘switching-on’ event that speeds of up to 14.4Mbp/s are expected to be available in early 2007. The network also has provisions for 40Mbit/s speeds by 2009, growing with the global development of the HSDPA standard.

Telstra have teamed up with pay-tv provider Foxtel, Warner Brothers, BBC, and many Sensis services to provide features for those on the Next G network. Currently 12 channels of Foxtel can be viewed directly on compatible handsets – including channels for sport, documentaries, news, and children’s programs. More channels are expected in the future. Warner Brothers and BBC will provide movie and TV-show downloads, and Sensis will provide services such as CitySearch, Trading Post, and WhereIs. Next G users also have access to Telstra BigPond Mobile content, which provides exclusive content with the AFL, NRL, and V8 Supercars, as well as news and entertainment features.

Those on the Next G network will not only be able to experience the features in Australia, but also in 30 other countries where 3G services are available. Voice calls are supported in 140 countries across the globe.

At present there are six Next G compatible handsets on offer, the Motorola RAZR MAXX V6, Samsung A501, Samsung A701, LG TU500, iMate JASJAM, and the Telstra-branded F850 handset. Five of the six handsets are clam-shells, the iMate JASJAM is a PDA-like handset with slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Telstra have been working with Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, and LG and expect to provide over 30 new handsets for the Next G network over the next 18 months.

The Next G network is not just for mobile phones however – Telstra have released a Next G Turbo Card for laptops which provides connectivity to the HSDPA network and in turn the internet. This kind of technology has been around for ages – but with the super-high speeds of the Next G network, in some cases using the Turbo Card will be faster than regular broadband internet access! The Next G Turbo Card can be used in 30 countries, just like the Next G compatible handsets.

Subscribers currently on Telstra’s 3G services (2100MHz WCDMA) will still be able to use their handsets, but to achieve the high speeds of the Next G network and access the services listed above, they will have to upgrade to a Next G compatible handset.

Here at iMobile.com.au we hope to have reviews on some of the Next G handsets and the service as a whole in the very near future.

For more information on the network visit the website http://www.telstra.com.au/nextgnetwork.


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