Is Kogan's Agora not compatible with the 850 3G network?

Is Kogan selling an Android smartphone that isn't compatible with the 850MHz 3G network in Australia?

Online customer reports and PC World's own testing indicate that Australian online retailer Kogan appears to be selling an Android smartphone that isn't compatible with the 850MHz 3G network in Australia, despite being advertised as such.

The Kogan Agora Android smartphone, which was announced back in January and began shipping to consumers in mid-February, is currently advertised as supporting the 800MHz, 850MHz and 2100MHz 3G network bands.

Despite Kogan's insistence that the Agora is technically capable of supporting the 850MHz network, a number of users online have reported that phone does not operate on this band. The band is used by both Telstra and Vodafone in Australia.

PC World Australia can confirm that our review unit of the Kogan Agora is incapable of connecting to 850MHz network towers.

Our review device happily connects to 2100MHz network towers using the Telstra network in the North Sydney area to provide 3G service. However, when travelling away from the city the phone can only pick up a 2G, EDGE signal.

The fastest data speeds we managed when away from the city area was a meagre 0.18 megabits per second (Mbps) download and just 0.04Mbps upload.

The specifications listing for the Agora on Kogan's website, which shows 850MHz 3G compatibility.
The specifications listing for the Agora on Kogan's website, which shows 850MHz 3G compatibility.

Telstra's Next G network operates on the 850Mhz frequency though heavily congested areas, usually ones close to CBD locations, use 2100Mhz towers to provide extra capacity.

Vodafone operates primarily on the 850MHz frequency for major metropolitan locations, but it also uses the 900MHz frequency in regional areas of Australia and the 2100MHz frequency in smaller, urban areas.

Curiously, Kogan's own mobile network, Kogan Mobile, uses the Telstra wholesale 3G network to provide its service. This network is capped below the regular speeds of Telstra's 'Next G' network but primarily uses 850MHz network towers.

PC World Australia contacted Kogan for comment on this issue and the company provided the following response through a spokesperson.

"We can confirm the Kogan Agora 5" Smartphone does work on the 850Mhz network on 2G and 3G and we have a test that shows this.

All Kogan products are covered by a 12 month warranty. If anyone has any issues with any product they purchase from Kogan, please contact Kogan Support."

A test screenshot Kogan sent to PC World Australia allegedly specifying that the Agora works on the 850Mhz 3G network.
A test screenshot Kogan sent to PC World Australia allegedly specifying that the Agora works on the 850Mhz 3G network.

Kogan also supplied us a specifications sheet, which details the capabilities of each SIM card slot on the Agora smartphone as follows:

SIM1

GSM with GPRS/E-GPRS Class 12 Packet Data and GPRS Class 5 DTM in the following bands:

-GSM850
-GSM900 (E-GSM and P-GSM)
-GSM1800 (DCS)
-GSM1900 (PCS)

UMTS Power Class 3 in the following bands:

-FDD Band I (2100MHz)
-FDD Band V (850MHz)
-FDD Band VI (800MHz)

SIM2

GSM with GPRS/E-GPRS Class 12 Packet Data in the following bands:

-GSM850
-GSM900 (E-GSM and P-GSM)
-GSM1800 (DCS)

UMTS Power Class 3 in the following bands:

-FDD Band I (2100MHz)
-FDD Band II (1900MHz)
-FDD Band V (850MHz)

Kogan has promised to send PC World Australia a second review unit of the Agora. We will update this article with any necessary changes should the new model work on the 850 network.

Have you bought a Kogan Agora smartphone? Does it work on the 850MHz 3G network in Australia? Let us know in the comments below!

Related content

Kogan Agora preview
Kogan unveils low-cost, dual-SIM Agora phone
How fast is the Kogan Mobile network?
Kogan officially enters Australian mobile provider market

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World
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