Telstra testing 4G 'small cell networks' for airports

By David Flynn, May 15 2013
Telstra testing 4G 'small cell networks' for airports

Telstra is evaluating advanced 'small cell networks' to cope with the boom in smartphones, tablets and laptops at Australia's busiest airports.

Known as heterogeneous networks or HetNets, these use a tightly-woven matrix of small 4G mobile phone cells to handle high traffic loads in areas "where it would be difficult to build additional large scale base stations", according to the carrier.

The trials are part of an ambitious $1.2 billion upgrade for Telstra's national 4G network which also includes opening a second 4G band to boost the capacity and range of regional mobile broadband services.

The new services will operate in the 900MHz band, where signals travel longer and also have greater penetration compared to the 1800MHz band of Telstra's current 4G network.

Telstra is also trialling the next generation of wireless 4G technology, known as LTE-Advanced, with plans to introduce it later this year in areas with heavy traffic demand over a greater distance. 

LTE-Advanced uses both the 900MHz and 1800MHz spectrum bands, allowing higher speeds "and unlocking more capacity for mobile use" Telstra says – a move that's critical seeing that Telstra customers expect to use as much mobile data in 2013 as they did in the past two years combined.

“More than half of all Australians now own a smartphone – up from 32% in 2010 – and we’re increasingly using them not just for work but for entertainment too" explains Telstra Chief Operations Officer Brendon Riley.

“We’re also seeing a huge increase in the number of people using their smartphone as their primary tool for searching and social networking, ahead of a traditional PC. In fact, the average Australian now spends a record 12 hours per week accessing the internet on a smartphone or tablet device.”

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

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