Telstra will tomorrow lift the wraps on its Next G network, with a live webcast of its briefings to media and investors. The new network is the centrepiece of Telstra's strategy of delivering broadband wirelessly.
Telstra is holding a day-long investor and media briefing in Sydney tomorrow and is expected to announce details of its "Next G" HSDPA/3G network.
The telco is webcasting the event live, so if you want to be first to hear the details, you can watch from 8.30am tomorrow.
Telstra notes that if you have a problem with that link, you should go here and choose 'Investor Day Briefing' from the presentation items.
What we know so far
Next G is Telstra's new 3G network, which will be operated separately to the current, shared Telstra/Hutchison 3 network.
Telstra won't be making the network available for wholesale use by competitors, because mobile networks do not fall under current competition regulation.
It will use a different frequency to all mobile networks in the world except for one in the USA (Cingular) and one in Canada (Rogers). The reason? It is recycling spectrum from the old CDMA network, which will eventually be shut down.
Although this will initially limit the choice of handsets that are compatible with Telstra's network, 850MHz does have the advantage that it has far better in-building penetration than the more prevalent higher frequencies used on most 3G networks.
Telstra has promised the new network will cover 98% of the Australian population and 1.6million square kilometres -- equivalent to its current CDMA network.
The Communication Minister, Senator Helen Coonan, has reassured concerns that Telstra would shut down CDMA before coverage was truly equivalent by promising the government will audit Telstra's coverage claims, with a focus on remote areas.
The government won't be auditing Telstra's speed and coverage of wireless broadband, though.
Foxtel-on-your-mobile will be used as a primary lure to differentiate Telstra's new mobile service from the competitors. But in Senate hearings, Telstra has admitted it doesn't have enough mobile spectrum to cover all its customers to use video streaming.
Wireless broadband through BigPond Next G
BigPond will offer residential broadband services over the mobile network (Telstra's "plan B" after it pulled the plug on its fibre-to-the-node network after losing patience with the competition regulator.)
Sol Trujillo, Telstra's CEO, has repeatedly touted the figure of "14.4Mbit/s" as the speed of the network. What he hasn't made clear is that this only a theoretical maximum speed of one radio cell. Telstra's network supplier, Ericsson, says the real-life throughput is more likely to be around 500Kbit/s per user.
BigPond, which currently sells EV-DO wireless broadband over the current CDMA network, which will be shut down, has promised to provide free replacement modems to customers so they can access the new Next G network.