Telstra USB 4G modem

Telstra USB 4G Modem review: The Telstra USB 4G modem offers vastly improved download and upload speeds provided you're in a 4G coverage zone

Telstra Corporation USB 4G modem
  • Telstra Corporation USB 4G modem
  • Telstra Corporation USB 4G modem
  • Telstra Corporation USB 4G modem
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Excellent speeds in 4G coverage areas
  • Quick and easy to install
  • No price premium over Next G products

Cons

  • 4G speeds limited to capital cities and major regions
  • Telstra remains more expensive than competitors
  • Not available on pre-paid plans

Bottom Line

Telstra's USB 4G Modem is the first mobile broadband device in Australia to run on the company's new "4G" LTE network. While the validity of Telstra's claim to offer true "4G" can be debated, there's no doubt the USB 4G modem offers significant speed benefits compared to its regular Next G network. However, you'll only experience this faster speed if you're in a 4G coverage area, which right now is limited to capital cities and selected metropolitan and regional areas.

Would you buy this?

Telstra's USB 4G Modem is the first mobile broadband device in Australia to run on the company's new "4G" LTE network. The USB 4G Modem promises typical download speeds of between 2 megabits per second (Mbps) and 40Mbps but you'll only achieve these speeds in currently limited areas of 4G coverage.

Read our review on the Telstra Ultimate USB Modem and check out more details about Telstra's 4G LTE network.

The Telstra USB 4G Modem is larger than most regular mobile broadband devices, but it looks almost identical to Telstra's previous Ultimate USB Modem. The USB 4G modem has a gloss black finish that's not very kind to fingerprints, and it features "4G" branding on both sides. Two antenna ports are located on the top of the modem hidden by plastic covers, and LED lights on the back flash green or red to denote power and data traffic.

The Sierra Wireless manufactured modem is reasonably slim and has a hinged, rotatable connector that allows it to be positioned at various angles. We tested the USB 4G modem on an Apple MacBook Pro and the connector doesn't hinder access to the adjacent USB port on the left side. However, it's a pretty tight squeeze if you want to plug another USB device in while using the 4G modem.

The Telstra USB 4G Modem has a regular SIM card slot (Telstra's 4G network runs on a regular BigPond SIM) and a microSD card slot to allow the device to double as a flash drive. The software required to run the modem is included on the modem itself; for Windows users, the installer will automatically open, while Mac users simply double-click the file that appears on the desktop the first time the modem is plugged in.

Telstra's Connection Manager software allows you to access session information, including sent and received data, 4G/3G indicators and signal strength. It's also been given a fresh coat of paint to match Telstra's colourful new branding: the logo on the Mac version is a mixture of pale blue.

The Telstra USB 4G Modem is marketed as a 4G device, but it uses both 3G and 4G technology. If you move out of an area with 4G coverage, the USB 4G modem will switch across to the regular Next G 3G network.

Initial "4G" Telstra coverage (denoted by the dark blue patches on Telstra's coverage map) stretches across all eight capital cities and their respective airports in Australia, along with 30 out of a possible 80 regional and metropolitan centres. Telstra says it will continue the LTE rollout into other coverage areas "where demand requires the extra capacity", but the telco has also promised to enable 50 further locations by the end of the year.

Using the Telstra USB 4G modem in an LTE coverage area should result in "typical" download speeds of between 2 megabits per second (Mbps) and 40Mbps and typical upload speeds of between 1Mbps and 10Mbps. These are best case scenarios though, and the results we achieved were far less, albeit still pretty impressive. Like all mobile broadband products, the speed will depend on a number of factors including time, location, network coverage, signal strength and congestion.

The speeds we encountered in our North Sydney office (which is in the 4G coverage zone) were impressive but not as fast as Telstra's quoted "typical" speeds. Using PC World's Broadband speed test, we managed to achieve a top download speed of 29.75Mbps, which is admittedly very impressive for a wireless device. Upload speeds during testing peaked at around 11Mbps (higher than Telstra's quoted 10Mbps), though generally hovered between 6-8Mbps on most occasions.

In a 4G coverage zone, it took us less than a minute and a half to download a 77.4MB iTunes file with the USB 4G modem. Keep in mind, though, that you'll only achieve these faster speeds within 4G coverage zones — the rest of the time you'll switch over the regular Next G network.

Perhaps the best thing about the Telstra USB 4G modem is the fact it’s the same price as the telco's previous Ultimate USB modem. It's available for $0 upfront on four plans ranging from $19.95 per month (1GB data) to $79.95 per month (15GB data). For more information on plans, visit Telstra's Web site.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Read more on these topics: Telstra, lte, Telstra LTE, Telstra USB 4G, Telstra 4G
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?