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Australia - Mobile Broadband - HSPA and LTE


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As social networking continues to boom with more consumers sharing content including images and videos, the need for a broadband connection with fast upload speeds becomes critically important in a mobile connected world. According to Ericsson, global mobile broadband use in the next five years is expected to reach the same level of penetration as the second-generation mobile phones that have been providing voice and text messaging today.

In 2000, before Facebook, MySpace and Twitter became popular, only 360 million people globally were online. By the end of the decade a quarter of the world’s population, about 1.7 billion people, had internet access. By mid-2012 Facebook has around 500 million active mobile users worldwide and may well reach one billion members worldwide before 2013. Meanwhile more than 50% of Australians use Facebook with around 35% using it on their mobile. With more than five million mobile broadband connections in Australia the use of 3G and 4G services continues to increase.

The mobile broadband market in Australia at times often becomes data saturated and to ease the congestion the mobile network operators are progressively updating, expanding rolling out faster networks to support the data explosion. Two of MNOs now have long-term evolution networks, Telstra and Optus with Vodafone expected to move into this area sometime in 2013 as its HSPA network was upgraded in 2011-2012.

More importantly, high-speed packet access and long-term evolution also enable network operators to move towards an all-IP network environment that may reduce network complexity and lower operating costs.

This report provides some background information on the technologies, commentary and analysis of the major high-speed packet access networks in Australia, and considers the prospects for operators as they move towards deploying long-term evolution past the trial basis. We also provide some statistics on data throughput on the various networks throughout the text and in easy-to-read chart formats.

Key developments:

HSPA, spectrum, 4G, LTE, WCDMA, HSDPA, HSUPA, multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO), TD-LTE, Optus launches TD-LTE service in Canberra, market developments to May 2013.

Companied covered in this report include:

VHA, Vodafone, 3, Optus, Huawei, Telstra, vividwireless, Ericsson, EnergyAustralia, SingTel, Unwired.


1. Synopsis
2. High-speed mobile networks
2.1 High-speed packet access (HSPA)
2.2 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
2.2.1 Background information
2.2.2 Telstra LTE services
2.2.3 Statistical look at 4G mobile broadband speeds
2.2.4 LTE-based smart grid
2.2.5 Apple iPad is not 4G compatible with Australian 4G networks at the moment
3. Australian mobile broadband operators
3.1 Optus
3.1.1 Overview
3.1.2 Co-sharing sees network expansion
3.1.3 LTE solutions
3.1.4 LTE-TDD network rollout
3.1.5 Unwired and Vividwireless
3.2 Telstra
3.2.1 Network overview
3.2.2 Network speed, coverage and services
3.2.3 Telstra 3G HSPA
3.2.4 Telstra 4G LTE
3.2.5 Mobile broadband on the 4G network
3.3 Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA)
3.3.1 Background
3.3.2 HSDPA network
3.3.3 LTE 1800MHz network spectrum swap
3.3.4 Network expands with 850MHz frequency with DC-HSPA+ to follow
3.3.5 Co-sharing sees Vodafone get further rural network expansion
3.3.6 Network contracts
4. Mobile broadband market
4.1 Overview and analysis
4.2 Data growth
4.3 Mobile industry gets some spectrum certainty
4.4 Neutral broadband connections for HSDPA
4.5 Will LTE steal the broadband revolution?
5. Mobile broadband
5.1 Applications overview
6. Related reports
Table 1 – Average 3G mobile broadband speed data in Australia – 2008 - 2012
Table 2 – Telstra 4G / LTE devices – voice versus mobile broadband – 2011 - 2012
Table 3 – Average 4G mobile broadband speed data in Australia – 2010 - 2012
Chart 1 – Overview of average 3G mobile broadband speeds – 2008 - 2012
Chart 2 – Overview of Telstra 4G / LTE devices – voice versus mobile broadband – 2011 - 2012
Chart 3 – Overview of average 4G mobile broadband speeds – 2010 - 2012
Exhibit 1 – Overview of past frequency division duplex (FDD) and TD-LTE trials
Exhibit 2 – Key issues for mobility industry

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