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Australia's first quad-core 4G phone hits Optus and Telstra

Samsung is launching the 4G-enabled Galaxy S III smartphone on the two Australian telcos — and is also offering it outright for AU$899.

Samsung is launching the 4G-enabled Galaxy S III smartphone on the two Australian telcos — and it's also offering it outright for AU$899.

The 4G version of the Galaxy S III in titanium grey (Credit: Samsung)

Testra and Optus have announced the upcoming availability of a 4G long-term evolution (LTE) version of the popular Samsung Galaxy S III phone on their respective networks. Both of the telcos are taking pre-orders for the 4G S III, with handsets expected to be available in October from Telstra, and Optus promising delivery around 20 September for orders made before 17 September. Unlike the current Galaxy S III, which is available in either white or blue, the 4G version will come in "onyx black" and "titanium grey".

Telstra claims that its 4G network is now available to more than 100 metropolitan and regional areas across Australia, with a full coverage map available here.

Optus' slightly newer 4G network is currently available in Sydney, Newcastle and Perth, with Melbourne's network set to go live on 15 September. A full coverage map is available here.

Only Optus has announced pricing of the 4G S III, making it available on either an AU$60 per month plan with AU$7 handset repayments per month, or AU$80 per month with zero repayments. The handset can also be bought outright for AU$899 from the Samsung Experience Store at 450 George Street, Sydney.

Previously, all 4G-enabled phones in Australia have only been available in dual core. The power draw of the 4G radio chips has always been considerably greater than 3G, because of the MIMO technology used, as well as the need to constantly "ping" the network to confirm 4G access, due to the small range of coverage. To enhance battery life, a quad-core processor would need an integrated 4G radio chip.

Manufacturers of CPUs have been working on such chipsets; Qualcomm is hoping to offer its MSM8974 — a quad-core 2-2.5GHz processor using the Krait architecture with LTE — for the start of 2013, and Nvidia is working on the Tegra Grey series — Quad ARM Cortex A9, with the integrated version of Nvidia's Icera LTE radio — for a tentative release in Q3 2012.

Once we get hands on with the new Galaxy S III, we'll be able to report back on battery life under 4G.