Australia’s largest telecommunications company, Telstra, is testing their LTE Advanced network and has reached some pretty impressive speeds. They’ve hit 450Mbps over their network, in real world tests, not in a lab. They achieved these speeds using the LTE Advanced Carrier Aggregation standard on the 1800MHz and 2600MHz spectrum bands. While this was just a test, it happened on a live network, not in a test environment like the 2.6Gbps tests run by Sprint and Nokia earlier this year.
We already have some LTA Advanced networks live here in the U.S. but nothing this fast. AT&T has already turned on their LTE-A networks in a handful of test markets. It’s not available to everyone yet. The only device they offer that can handle the faster speeds is their AT&T Unite Pro hotspot. Verizon just leaked a video about their upcoming XLTE network upgrades, and other carriers have mentioned that they are working on the faster standard.
Telstra hit these 450Mbps speeds with switchgear from Ericsson, running on the 1800MHz and 2600MHz bands. This allows for data to flow over multiple channels at once, with a total of 20Mhz channels being used. On these higher frequencies, in-building penetration could be an issue as well issues of distance.
The focus right now is just on getting LTE-A networks up and running. SK Telecom in South Korea launched their LTE Advanced network last year alongside the Korean variant of the Galaxy S4, which is LTE-A capable. Their speeds should hit 300Mbps sometime this year, and that will be across some, or all, of their mobile network. Tested speeds hardly ever equal actual speeds seen by customers because there are other factors like capacity that can affect speeds. The more users on the network, the slower speeds may be, but even the 300Mbps that SK Telecom has announced is more than ten times faster than current U.S. LTE speeds.
We still have a few years before these types of speeds are available on a large scale. Unfortunately, with current plans from U.S. carriers capping data usage, these blazing fast speeds won’t do us much good.