Telstra mulls more LTE trials

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Telstra mulls more LTE trials
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Wright said that in addition to external tests, Telstra had performed lab tests of LTE in the 1800 MHz band, achieving downlink speeds of 149 Mbps and uplink speeds of 59 Mbps.

But he cautioned that "the whole LTE game wasn't about speed" but rather capacity.

"We're doing these trials because we want to understand the next-generation of wireless broadband technology so when we bring it to market we do it in a way that's best for us and for customers," Wright said.

"We also want to be able to architect it for the Australian environment and we have experience doing that in the past.

"We've found technologies are often great for the customer but to suit Australia's environment, its distances and population distribution, you sometimes have to modify its functionality."

Range tests

Telstra's first trials of LTE back in June tested the range of Nokia-Siemens Network kit. The carrier reported pushing average 88.1 Mbps downlink and 29.6 Mbps uplink speeds to the edges of a 75 kilometre cell.

Wright said the trial was run in 2.5 GHz spectrum – a much higher frequency than it would likely use to deploy LTE over long distances.

"We had to compensate for the higher frequency," he said.

But he said spectrum wasn't the most important factor in the test.

"We just wanted to understand whether we could reconfigure LTE to run over those [long] distances," he said.

Wright spoke of Telstra's previous range testing experiences on earlier technologies, including Telstra's initial surprise when it learned of the GSM specification's "inherent 35 kilometre limit."

He also said that the Next G network base stations were capable of operating at a range up to 200 kilometres – a result of the carrier's previous range testing and reconfiguration of networking kit.

Third test

The most recent Australian LTE tests conducted by Telstra used Ericsson kit in the 2.5 GHz band.

It culminated in an intercapital video call between Sydney and Melbourne – although its purpose was really to "look at what it would take to integrate an LTE system into an operating 3G or HSPA network," according to Wright.

Stay tuned to iTnews for part two of our LTE investigation.

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