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Telstra expands its 4G services, including the 700MHz-band trials

The telco says it will expand its 4G coverage to reach 90 percent of Australia by the end of January 2015.

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Telstra has announced a number of changes to its 4G service across Australia, including to the fledgling 700MHz band. The lower frequency of the 700MHz offering gives the signal better penetration into buildings, carparks, elevators, and the like.

The carrier says that by the end of January 2015 its 4G coverage will be accessible by 90 percent of the Australian population. It's also expanding its 700MHz commercial trials with selected areas of Sydney, Adelaide, Darwin, Bundaberg, Yamba, and Sarina being switched on next week.

This will, of course, coincide with the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, both of which are compatible with 700MHz.

In the lead up to January 2015, Telstra will have commercial trials of 700Mhz in more than 20 additional metro and regional areas across Australia. This will culminate with the formal switching on of 700MHz services on January 1, 2015. This will initially be available in a 3km radius of all capital city CBDs and another 50 regional areas.

"We plan to have one million 700MHz capable devices in the hands of our consumers by the end of this year," said chief operations officer Kate McKenzie.

At a press event, Telstra said that in areas where the 700MHz LTE is available, as much as 20 percent of traffic is already running on the new band.

The availability of 700MHz is key to Telstra's LTE-A offering, where mobile devices have their data connectivity aggregated across multiple spectrum. For Telstra, this will combine the 700MHz and 1800Mhz bands.

Telstra mobile products executive director Warwick Bray pointed to the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 4 as a product that will be able to use LTE-A.

"Our strategy is to get as many devices in our range and our customers hands ahead of launch," said Bray, later adding that "LTE-A means better and more reliable speeds for our customers."

According to McKenzie, Telstra has invested AU$1.3bn on the addition of the 700MHz and 2600MHz bands to the telco's 4G service.