Telstra launches 4G Wi-Fi hotspot

Telstra's Mobile Wi-Fi 4G is the first 4G wireless modem to launch in Australia.

Telstra's 4G wireless hotspot

Telstra's 4G wireless hotspot

Telstra is continuing to expand its 4G product portfolio and the latest addition comes in the form of a mobile Wi-Fi modem, the Telstra Mobile Wi-Fi 4G.

The Telstra Mobile Wi-Fi 4G (confusingly called the Ultimate Wi-Fi modem on Telstra's Web site) is battery powered and allows up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices to connect to it wirelessly for shared mobile Internet access. The Mobile Wi-Fi 4G is the first 4G wireless modem to launch in Australia.

The device has an LED display that shows Wi-Fi name and password, signal strength, number of devices connected and battery level. Telstra says the device will provide up to four hours of battery life and 100 hours of standby time.

In a 4G coverage zone, Telstra promises the Mobile Wi-Fi 4G can access typical download speeds ranging from 2 megabits per second (Mbps) to 40Mbps, while typical upload speeds range from 1Mbps to 10Mbps. When not in a 4G coverage zone, the Mobile Wi-Fi 4G falls back onto the company's regular Next G network, supporting HSPA+ dual channel speeds of 1.1Mbps-20Mbps.

"Australians now take a range of Wi-Fi enabled devices with them when they're outside the home and office and for many of our customers the Telstra Mobile Wi-Fi is the 4G product they’ve been waiting for," said Anthea Roberts, director, Telstra Mobile. "It gives them the chance to bring Australia’s fastest mobile internet speed to their existing tablets, laptops, portable games consoles and smartphones."

"The introduction of the Telstra Mobile Wi-Fi 4G also means more people can take advantage of the improved web responsiveness available on 4G which makes real-time applications like video conferencing, internet gaming and cloud-hosted streaming services work better with less buffering and fewer interruptions."

Telstra's 4G network is best described as an LTE enablement of its Next G network: it runs on the LTE 1800MHz network band but "switches across" to the Next G network when 4G coverage is not available. Telstra's 4G coverage is currently available in all eight capital cities (5km from GPO) and their respective airports in Australia, along with 80 regional and metropolitan centres (3km from city centre).

The Telstra Mobile Wi-Fi 4G is just the fourth product to work on the company's new 4G network. It first launched the 4G USB modem in September last year and followed that up with the HTC Velocity smartphone in January and then the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 4G earlier this month.

The Telstra Mobile Wi-Fi 4G is now available to business customers while a second, re-branded consumer variant — the BigPond Mobile Wi-Fi 4G — launches on Tuesday 27 March.

The consumer BigPond Mobile Wi-Fi 4G will be available on a range of 24 month plans including $49 upfront on a $59.95 per month plan which includes 8GB of data per month. The modem can also be purchased outright for $299.

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Ross Catanzariti

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