Telstra confirms LTE phone next week

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Telstra confirms LTE phone next week

HTC Velocity 4G from January 24.

Telstra will launch its first LTE-capable smartphone from next Tuesday in a bid to ramp up support for the next-generation mobile network.

The HTC Velocity 4G, available from January 24, will enable users to download at speeds of up to 40 Mbps, and upload at speeds up to 10 Mbps, in areas where Telstra has upgraded its Next G network to the newer mobile standard.

This currently includes a five-kilometre radius around most capital cities and a three-kilometre radius around other major metropolitan and regional centres, with plans to expand further beyond these zones in future.

The phone will only use the LTE network for data, however, instead switching to Telstra's existing 3G network for voice calls and data where LTE is not available.

It will be available from $10 a month on a $59 plan with 1.5 GB of data quota, or free on a $79 plan with 2 GB of data. The heaviest data plan includes 3 GB of monthly for $129 a month.

Telstra has opened orders for the device.

The phone is expected to boost uptake of Telstra's LTE network, which was launched last September but to date has only been usable with a USB dongle.

The telco has flagged plans to launch an LTE-capable tablet as well as other devices over the next year.

With Vodafone and Optus also planning to launch LTE networks this year, the availability of devices is expected to grow.

However, Telstra has planned a gradual rollout of its LTE network beyond the 80 sites currently available.

"At this stage we don't have a plan for a ubiquitous wide-area coverage. That will continue to be provided by our 3G HSPA technology," Telstra's director of wireless fundamental planning and integration Anthony Goonan said in September last year.

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