Telstra 4G USB modem review: Telstra 4G USB modem

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Typical Price: $299.00

Telstra 4G USB modem

(Part #: CNETTelstra 4G USB modem)
5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Delivers as advertised. Excellent latency with outstanding throughput. Great design.

The Bad No 12-month contract option.

The Bottom Line There is simply no better mobile broadband modem or service right now than that from Telstra and its 4G network.

9.5 Overall
CNET Editors' Choice Oct '11

Design and features

Forgive us if we gloss quickly over the design of the new Telstra 4G USB modem. Not only does it look like a near replica of the last Telstra modem we reviewed , but there just isn't that much to say about the design of a USB modem anyway. We like that it's black in colour, for what it's worth.

Practically, the design is a winner. Telstra's OEM Sierra does a fine job of delivering a solidly built modem with a swivelling connection to the computer, allowing you to point the modem and its antenna upwards or to redirect it to a sideways orientation. The back of the modem slides off revealing SIM card and microSD card slots, allowing you to stuff in as much as 32GB of memory and use the modem as a portable drive or as a ReadyBoost memory enhancement on newer Windows PC.

Of course, few people buying the Telstra 4G modem will linger for long pondering on the design, with the show-stopper here being the modem 4G connectivity on the 1800MHz frequency of Telstra's network. Telstra is promising real-world download speeds of between 2Mbps and 40Mbps on the 4G network, and uploads of half of the download estimations.

Impressively, the new 4G modem also delivers the same dual-channel HSPA+ connectivity that the previous Telstra Ultimate modem offers, falling back to speeds up to a theoretical maximum of 41Mbps when outside of Telstra's 4G coverage.


Telstra's new network roll-out make exciting promises, and the USB modem does not disappoint. The throughput results we saw during our tests was consistently excellent, with 4G downloads speeds averaging at about 20Mbps, and uploads speeds at about 8Mbps or 9Mbps. Even when the modem reverted to a 3G connection we still saw downloads sitting at around 8Mbps, or about the same download speed most people will experience using ADSL2+ with a wired connection in their homes.

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