Telstra has begun wholesaling 4G mobile services to its mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) partners, but speeds will be capped below those available to the carrier’s retail customers.
The launch will see a number of retail service providers including AldiMobile, Woolworths, Telechoice and Better Life progressively enable 4G on customers' existing 3G accounts from today.
Telstra had originally scheduled to make 4G services available to wholesale partners in June, but moved the launch date forward. Users will automatically switch to 3G outside the company's 4G coverage areas.
“We know many of our MVNO customers are keen to have the opportunity to offer 4G services on Australia’s leading mobile network, so we are pleased to have the next evolution of our wholesale offer ready ahead of schedule," the telco said in a statement.
The wholesale offering includes access to Telstra’s 1800 MHz and 700 MHz coverage areas, with 2600 MHz spectrum coverage in selected areas. The 4G and 3G coverage footprint reaches 98.5 percent of the Australian population.
However, peak download speeds for Telstra 4G MVNO customers will be capped at 100 Mbps, and 4G voice (VoLTE) services will not be part of the offering.
"In line with other features we will assess the need for VoLTE as part of our regular product reviews," a Telstra spokesperson told iTnews.
"Telstra Wholesale seeks to offer a product that is competitive in the wholesale market place. We believe a 100 Mbps cap is consistent with this aim."
The speed cap comes despite Telstra having released its first 4G LTE Advanced Cat 11 device, capable of peak speeds of up to 600 Mbps using three-band carrier aggregation, as well as VoLTE services in September of last year.
The carrier is currently rolling out the LTE category 16 standard and is planning to boost peak speeds on its 4GX network to 1 Gbps in the Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane CBDs later this year.
Telstra first announced its plans to launch both post-paid and prepaid variants of its 4G wholesale product offering in March of last year, using the same LTE 3GPP standards as its retail service.