In May of last year, Telstra – as well as Optus – successfully bid in an auction held by the ACMA for licenses to use bands in the 700MHz spectrum that had previously been used by the now defunct Analogue TV service. In that auction, Telstra successfully bid on 2 x 20 MHz (40 MHz) of spectrum and while the license to fully use the spectrum won’t come into effect until the first of January next year(2015), Telstra began testing out data sessions using the spectrum this week.
On Friday, Telstra – in partnership with Ericsson – successfully completed their first trial on their Asia-Pacific Telecommunity(APT) 700MHz session to transmit data across two sites located in regional NSW ‘using an advanced smartphone from HTC that will launch later this year’. The coveted 700MHz spectrum will allow for excellent 4G coverage in regional and rural areas, with the 700MHz frequency also allowing for increased building penetration to improve reception in buildings, a common issue for mobile phones using spectrum at higher frequencies.
While we can’t guarantee the HTC handset used in the trials is even an Android handset; the HTC M8, is most likely in the hands of carriers now for testing purposes – Australian carriers do test out unreleased handsets in generic boxes all the time….don’t they Jason – but then again, it could be any of HTC’s upcoming devices running WP8 or Android. But all three of the major carriers grabbed the HTC One last year, so it would make sense that Telstra is testing the next version of this wonderful handset.
In 2015 we should see Telstra and Optus launch their 700MHz network, this will usher in a whole new range of handsets that will need to support a wide range of frequencies, it’ll be interesting to see just what each carrier can deliver from their network and handsets on offer.