Vividwireless dismisses ability of Telstra LTE network

The telco's chief executive, Martin Mercer, said the telco's plans to operate the network in the 1800mHz spectrum band will result in network speeds matching only that of vividwireless’ WiMax network.

Vividwireless chief executive, Martin Mercer, has dismissed the ability of Telstra’s announced Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, claiming the telco’s plans to operate the network in the 1800MHz spectrum band will result in network speeds matching only that of vividwireless’ WiMax network.

Addressing attendees at the CommsDay Summit 2011, Mercer said a 4G world would demand at least 10MHz channels, or ideally 20MHz channels.

“Telstra has announced they’re going to do LTE in the 1800 band which means they’re going to have to re-farm a fair bit of 1800 to allow them to potentially hold together a pair of 10MHz channels,” he said. “But that means that their 10MHz channels or their LTE network will run as fast as our WiMax network because our network uses 10MHz channels and speed really is a function of how much spectrum you’re prepared to throw at it.”

In February, the telco signalled a move away from its WiMax network with live trials of rival mobile technology, Time Division Duplex Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE), hitting peak speeds of 128 megabits per second (Mbps).

Mercer cited an “unnamed carrier" which advertised peak speeds of 42Mbps on its wireless network, claiming to note the carrier’s fine print which he argued specified a range between 600 kilobits per second (kbps) and 20Mbps, not quite the claimed 42Mbps. He also spoke of further fine print noting those speeds are only within 5 km of the CBD and only in capital cities.

“I can tell you now, we deliver consistently at regular time of day variations six to eight megabits per second which is up to six times faster than what the 3G network delivers and is two times faster than the unnamed network carrier I mentioned before and their 'Ultimate' device,” he said.

When it comes to speed, spectrum is the determining factor, he said, claiming that the industry constantly talks about theoretical maximums, peak speeds, actual speeds, and average speeds which does nothing but raise expectations, a sentiment echoed by Ericsson last December.

“It’s not until 2014 or 2015 when spectrum is freed up with the Digital Dividend in the 700MHz band… that you can start to see a time at which Optus, Vodafone and Telstra might just get enough spectrum to be able to start to build real LTE networks,” he said. “In about 2014-2015, real LTE will be unleashed when 20MHz channels are available, but that’s going to determine that 20MHz channels are essential to speed and they’re essential to capacity as well.”

“Vividwireless effectively has four times the capacity that Optus, Vodafone and Telstra do, so when we build an LTE network on the East Coast by 2015, we’ll build the 20MHz channels and we’ll have the fastest network in this country because we’ll have enough spectrum to deliver a consistent reliable affordable 4G wireless broadband service and it’ll be true 4G, years before Optus, Vodafone and Telstra start rolling out 4G.”

“In a 4G world the winners are going to be the people with lots of spectrum.”

Computerworld is seeking comment from Optus, Telstra and Vodafone.

Follow Chloe Herrick on Twitter: @chloe_CW

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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