But the first device capable of actually connecting at 1 Gbps won’t go on sale until late February.
Telstra and its hardware partners, Ericsson, Qualcomm and Netgear, announced on Tuesday that Telstra’s 1-Gbps LTE network – the first of its kind in the world – is up and running in select locations.
However, the first device actually capable of taking advantage of the blistering speeds on offer – Netgear’s Nighthawk M1 mobile hotspot – won’t hit the shelves until late February.
The M1 is equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X16 LTE modem and WiFi chipsets, and when it goes on sale is set to be the world’s first commercially-available LTE category 16 (cat 16) end user device.
To reach 1 Gbps, the hotspot supports 3x carrier aggregation (CA), with 4×4 multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) on two aggregated carriers, plus 2×2 MIMO on the third carrier. It also supports 256 quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) – a signal modulation scheme that supports higher data rates.
When Telstra first shared plans to launch 1-Gbps LTE, it said the M1 would come with a 4,300 mAh battery, and allow up to 20 devices to connect to it simultaneously.
Development of the device was completed in October; Telstra has been testing it out since then.
"As our customers continue to use increasing amounts of data for entertainment and business use, Telstra’s continuous innovation ensures our network is ready to deliver the country’s best mobile experience," said Mike Wright, group managing director of networks at Telstra, in a statement on Tuesday.
As has become the norm, Telstra and its hardware partners could not resist the temptation to point out that 1-Gbps LTE represents a stepping stone towards 5G.
"Once again we are pleased to partner with Telstra to deliver the world’s first commercial Gigabit LTE network which we see as an important step as Telstra continues toward 5G," said Par Navinger, vice president of network systems at Ericsson.
"We are well placed to evolve our 4G network and are putting the building blocks in place for Australia to be ready for 5G – this will deliver more bandwidth and lower latencies which are critical for emerging applications such as downloading 4K video, IoT, autonomous vehicles, augmented reality and shared virtual reality," added Wright.