[LINK] Telstra LTE and ADSL

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Wed Feb 16 03:14:13 AEDT 2011

Why Telstra’s LTE bombshell is a really big deal

Posted on February 14th, 2011  http://www.commsday.com/commsday/?p=2328

Telstra’s overnight announcement that it will deploy an LTE network to 
city and regional areas of Australia before year’s end is stunning on a 
number of levels..

It probably represents the moment where wireless broadband presents a 
directly comparable challenge to the core ADSL user base (which, like it 
or not, will remain the most accessible and popular fixed broadband 
technology in Australia for the next five years, at least simply due to 
the lengthy lead times of NBN deployment).

Typical LTE end user speeds will likely match or exceed typical DSL end 
user speeds, making it a viable competitor in the here and now across 
most of the market. 

The NBN won’t necessarily be able to churn across lots of DSL customers 
to build its business, it may find it needs to churn them off HSPA and 
LTE in equal numbers. 

That is easier said than done given the unique attributes of mobility.

Even in its HSPA incarnation, wireless broadband is proving to be more 
than a match for DSL services.  

In a recent blog post, Exetel CEO John Linton noted the market 
competitiveness of his latest HSPA offering, which he says can be 
retailed for $25 a month with a 5Gig data quota. 

This beats the price point and matches the usage profile of 35% of his 
DSL customers. 

He said: "In February 2011, 35% of Exetel’s current users can get more 
downloads at greater speeds for less monthly cost than any other 
supplier, including Exetel, can offer users via ADSL. They can save even 
more money by ditching the PSTN line as an added bonus."

Thirdly, an LTE rollout at competitive price points — supplemented by 
HSPA+ capacities at 80Mbps or more — removes one of the key constructs 
behind the NBN Mark 2 policy: that it was needed to liberate the million 
or more households trapped behind RIMs and pairgains ..

I would take Telstra’s claims that it needs 700MHz to rollout LTE beyond 
CBDs lightly, I would not be surprised if it aggressively moves to deploy 
the new platform ahead of the 2013 availability of new spectrum. 

Simply, LTE is more spectrum efficient than current GSM and HSPA usages.

Telstra’s aggression in this area puts pressure on the powers-that-be to 
expedite new spectrum releases, which only serves to obviate the usual 
objection to wireless: that it becomes congested when popular. 

Telstra has enough spectrum now to deploy LTE in the 1800 band, while 
retaining HSPA in the 850 band. Optus and VHA lack the same flexibility 
and abundance Telstra enjoys with spectrum and will almost certainly be 
seeking to make the case they should be granted more of it sooner than 

Whatever happens, Optus and VHA will react in some shape or form to the 
Telstra gambit. 

Result: an immediately more dynamic national wireless broadband market, 
even as the fixed market enters more of a holding pattern as it waits 
years for a pervasive fibre rollout.

It could have been said as recently as last week that every serious 
carrier and ISP in Australia needs an NBN strategy. It could now be 
equally said they need an LTE one too.

Grahame Lynch 



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