Telstra is readying a CAT4 wifi dongle and handset for its LTE network after field trials in Western Australia proved the devices capable of peak speeds exceeding 90 Mbps.
The carrier's executive director of networks and access technologies Mike Wright said in a blog post that live field trials of the devices had been conducted in Perth and Esperance, where Telstra has 20 MHz of contiguous 1800 MHz spectrum for its LTE network.
"To gain the greatest advantage of the faster speeds of a CAT4 device, it needs to be combined with a 4G network offered over 20MHz of contiguous spectrum; this is the widest bandwidth that LTE can use ahead of LTE-Advanced technologies which will come in future years," Wright said.
"In some areas of WA, including Perth and Esperance, Telstra already has 20 MHz of contiguous spectrum in the 1800 MHz band so customers in these areas will be the first to be able to experience the speed advantage of a CAT4 device."
Lab testing of the CAT4 devices had achieved peak speeds over 100 Mbps, according to Wright. Theoretically, devices are rated as capable of achieving up to 150 Mbps peak downlink speeds.
Wright noted it unlikely that retail customers will get near the peak speeds of the field trial or lab tests when the CAT4 devices became commercially available later this year.
Spectrum, distance from the base station, time of day, location and fixed backhaul from cell sites all impacted actual user speeds, he said.
However, "the download speeds a customer experiences using a CAT4 device can be faster than those obtained using a CAT3 device, all other things being equal," he said.
Telstra typically advised customers with CAT3 devices to expect download speeds of between 2 Mbps and 40 Mbps. CAT3 devices are theoretically rated to achieve 100 Mbps peak downlink speeds.