Australian 4G/LTE data speeds offered by all of the major phone companies provide very fast broadband data speeds to your phone or mobile broadband device.
Knowing what 4G means can come in handy when you’re choosing a mobile phone service provider or contract. Today’s newest mobile phones come equipped with LTE /4G.
If you are like most people, and you live in the real world instead of a phone companynetworking department, you might not even know what LTE / 4G means. Get ready ! It’s going to make an enormous difference to how much you enjoy having and using your mobile. Almost any new mobile phone you buy which costs more than $400 is going to have LTE capabilities. An increasing proportion of people have LTE on their phones.
Most new high end phone releases are LTE enabled
What is the best 4G deal in market ?
If you had to boil it all down to a single sentence, LTE means data comes down more quickly to your device. LTE / 4G is super fast internet access. It’s likely to be faster downloading a web page on your LTE phone than doing the same thing on your home laptop over a fixed broadband connection.
4G is increasingly sold only by the main networks – Optus, Vodafone, Telstra and Virgin Mobile. Telstra and Vodafone do not allow network resellers like Lebara or Boost Mobile access their 4G network. That relegates these providers to providing second class 3G speeds. That’s fine for older phones and prepaid customers ( most of whom have an older phone ) but if you want 4G, you’re left looking at substantial pricing from the major phone companies.
It makes much more sense to buy your phone outright yourself and add a SIM Only plan than it does to do anything else.
How are 3G / LTE / 4G different ?
3G / 4G / LTE indicate the data download and upload speeds that your device will receive.
3G has been available in handsets for the last 5 or 6 years. If you’ve had an iPhone or another type of Smart Mobile Phone in the last 5 years, it’s almost certainly been ‘3G’ enabled. 3G offered download speeds in Australia from 300 kbps to 1.5 Mbps. LTE / 4G is much faster than 3G.
Typically, in Australia, LTE devices are currently capable of download speeds of 2-20 Mbps. That’s 10 – 20 times faster than you’re used to on a 3G product.
As with all new technologies, it can be difficult to express what the new capability means or enables. We’ve tried to explain it in easy to understand terms, below.
What does LTE / 4G mean to me ?
To explain what LTE is, it can be helpful to compare LTE / 4G to things you’re used to or used to doing :
- 4G will be ( is likely to be at least ) 5 – 10 times faster than 3G networks were.
- It will take you 15 minutes to download a normal definition film over an LTE network
- A song from iTunes ( typically around 4 MB ) will take you only 10 – 15 seconds !
- Watching a video on You Tube on a 3G phone, you might have experienced ‘stuttering’ as the network failed to deliver data quickly enough to maintain the picture. You are far less likely to experience that on 4G.
LTE / 4G also means you are likely to need a new phone
If you buy an LTE enabled product now, it will also work on a 3G network when you’re outside 4G coverage. You’ll always get the quickest wireless network connection available.
If you’re on a 4G phone :
- If you’re in 4G coverage, your phone will connect to the 4G network.
- If you’re outside 4G coverage but inside 3G coverage, your phone will connect to the 3G network.
LTE Devices Available in Australia
In Australia, the following LTE devices are available :
- LTE / 4G Smart Mobile Phones
A growing range including most mid / high end releases and the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3 ( 4G)
- Wireless Broadband devices
Dongles – small pieces of hardware which can be inserted in to the USB port of your computer to connect it to the wireless internet.
- Wireless tablet devices like the iPad.
Telstra’s LTE / 4G Network
Telstra launched 4G in September 2011. As of December 2012, Telstra was reporting 800,000 LTE customers ! Of those, 160,000 were mobile phone users. They currently cover over 100 different areas including ( parts of ) every state or territory capital. To a degree, that means that comparisons between the Optus and Telstra network are not totally fair. There are more people on the Telstra LTE network, and they are all ‘sharing the speed’. So, it’s unlikely to be quite as fast !
Telstra themselves say that they cover 40% of the country already. They have also publicly declared that by mid 2013, that’ll be more than 66%, when they double coverage in the big cities like Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. If you live or travel out of city centres a lot, this will be important information for you !
Remember though, Telstra’s voice and data plans are more expensive than the competition. In the opinion of Whatphone, that’s odd ! The LTE network is actually cheaper for the telcos to run ( after it’s built ) than the older 3G network. It has higher spectral efficiency. Which means it packs more data in to the air.
Optus’ / Virgin Mobile’s LTE / 4G Network
As you may know Optus and Virgin Mobile share the same networks. Both brands are owned by Optus.
Optus operates a smaller LTE network right now although they too are spending huge amounts to roll it out nationwide. In December 2012, Optus covered ( parts of ) Brisbane CBD, Perth, Surfer’s Paradise, Newcastle ( where they trialed the service ) and Melbourne. Optus plan to cover Adelaide mid 2013. here. For thoroughness, we have included a second link for Virgin Mobile. You can find details of Virgin Mobile’s
4G / LTE coverage here. Do you notice any commonalities between those maps ? ( They’re identical – because both brands are owned by the same company and operate the same network ! )
You can find the Telstra coverage map on their website.
Vodafone’s LTE / 4G Network
If you’re Australian then you know – Vodafone have had a tough time of it with their network recently. They were caught out by the enormous increase in the number of Smart mobile phone users after the iPhone launch. They struggled to keep up and now, they need to focus on improving their basic network coverage. They don’t have time to be rolling out a new network just yet.
In practical effect, it’s unlikely, in the opinion of Whatphone that they will have much 4G network coverage until the middle of 2013. Just in time for the new iPhone 6. But not in time for the iPhone 5 users who want to use the LTE capabilities of the device.
Vodafone plan to spend $2bn over 2 years rolling out LTE. The first evidence of faster speeds should hit Australia early 2013.
Watch your data when you’re using LTE / 4G !
There is a growing quantity of evidence that people are using a lot more data on their plans, when they have LTE phones. These days, people spend three times as long looking at the face of their mobile phone as they do speaking in to it. That means that the improvement in the quality of browsing and downloading applications which has been enabled by 4G/LTE on the latest set of mobile phones has caused a sustained increase in the amount of data people are using.
Most estimates suggest a doubling of the amount of data used by people with LTE phones, compared to the previous, 3G, generation.
We recommend that you check your usage regularly. There are a variety of ways to do it which you can read about in Whatphone’s data usage articles.
Australian LTE / 4G Capacity Planning
Unfortunately, the size of Australia means it will take a while to cover the whole of the country with LTE wireless network. Upgrading from a 3G to a 4G network means that engineers for companies like Optus, Telstra etc have to go to every base station and perform an upgrade. Base stations are the mobile phone towers you will have seen around and mentioned in the press.
Telstra, Optus and Vodafone are all spending literally billions of dollars changing their data networks to be LTE capable. At every Base Station, they have to insert new LTE enabled network ‘cards.’ They also have to make sure that there is enough ‘backhaul’ – that’s ground based network cable to be able to deal with the levels of data coming down and going up.
We know from experience with 3G that network planning has to be considered carefully – or there will be the sort of network performance problems we’ve seen with Vodafone recently. Vodafone have lots hundreds of thousands of customers as a result of their poor network planning. The other telcos don’t want to make the same mistake.
Factors which affect download speeds :
- Number of users on the network, downloading. There’s only one network – and it’s shared between the number of users on it at any time !
- The distance of users from the base station. The base station is where the network aerial is. The further people are away, the worse their signal, and download speeds are likely to be.
- Things between you and the aerial – buildings, people and other physical items can make it hard for the signal to get through.
What is LTE Technically ?
4G is a network standard. LTE stands for Long Term Evolution. LTE is the name given by telcos ( telcos are companies like Optus, Virgin Mobile etc. ) to the fastest wireless internet service they offer at the moment. LTE is a data access capability that falls under the 4G standard.
Incredibly, after all this, officially, the governing body which stipulates what is and what is not 4G says that LTE, right now, doesn’t meet the definition of 4G ! Under the International Mobile Telecommunications Advanced specification, 4G peak speeds are 100 Mbit/s for high mobility communication and 1 Gbit/s for stationary or low mobility communications. High mobility simply means you’re on a moving vehicle such as a train, bus, or car. Low mobility means you might be walking along the street or sitting in a café. Since LTE doesn’t offer access speeds of 100 Mbits/s, it shouldn’t really be called 4G.
From a marketing perspective, since 4G is truly, a new generation of wireless network speed, it’s legitimate to call it 4G.
We propose you ignore this technical talk. It won’t affect the experience you have here. What matters is that LTE is 10-20 times faster than 3G.
LTE in the rest of the world
Australia is one of the first countries in the world to roll out LTE capabilities. Living here, we take it for granted. Australia adopts new technology quickly. In fact, Australia is one of the first that has rolled out 4G/LTE networks.
The UK & USA have also launched some LTE components to their networks. NZ won’t be getting LTE until the end of 2013. But LTE is so cutting edge that the list of countries which have access to it is pretty small right now.
It is worth mentioning, for technical accuracy here that there are some countries which use a different type of 4G which is not LTE. In the US and Korea, there are some 4G network standards – called WiMax – which are not LTE networks but are still considered to fall under the 4G standard.
If you want more technical information, you can find it here.
See all SIM Only plans
If you need another network, for example you’re after an unlimited plan with Telstra coverage, or you live in a city and you’re happy with Vodafone, you might like to check our SIM Only Comparison page and compare all the plans ( including every one mentioned on this page. )
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Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neilis in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.
4G is a network standard. LTE stands for Long Term Evolution. LTE is the name given by telcos ( telcos are companies like Optus, Virgin Mobile etc. ) to the fastest wireless internet service they offer at the moment. LTE is a data access capability that falls under the 4G standard.What is the 4G LTE band in Australia? ›
- 700 MHz. The 700 MHz band was previously used for analogue television and became operational with 4G in December 2014. ...
- 850 MHz. The 850 MHz band is currently operated as a 3G network by Telstra and as a 4G network by Vodafone. ...
- 1800 MHz. ...
- 2100 MHz. ...
- 2300 MHz. ...
- 2600 MHz.
Telstra operates frequency-division (FD) LTE on the 1800MHz spectrum band. It currently has 20MHz of contiguous spectrum in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, and 15MHz in Sydney and Melbourne. By comparison, Vodafone Hutchison Australia has 20MHz in all five cities, but its coverage is limited to those cities.Is 4G LTE the same as LTE? ›
LTE stands for Long Term Evolution. It's a term used for the particular type of 4G that delivers a fast mobile Internet experience. You'll usually see it called 4G LTE (often found in the corner of your phone screen, where you see the classic service “bars”).What does LTE 4G mean? ›
LTE stands for Long Term Evolution. Why? It was indeed a "long-term evolution" for mobile networks (based on 3G tech at that time) when 4G came out in 2008.Do American phones work in Australia? ›
While Australian GSM frequencies are different to the networks used in the United States and the United Kingdom, most major mobile brands such as Apple and Samsung have introduced models that are compatible with international networks making searching the internet, uploading to Instagram, and contacting your loved ones ...Will my 4G phone work in Australia? ›
Check to make sure your phone will work in Australia
Australia uses 850MHz, 900MHz, and 2100Mhz for 3G networks and B1, B3, B5, B7, B7, and B28 for 4G bands. If you unlock your phone by calling the carrier, the service representative maybe able to tell you if your phone meets this criteria.
If you have a GSM phone in Australia, it may work in the United States, as both countries use similar frequencies for 3G/4G networks. However, you must make sure that your phone is unlocked and has a SIM card slot that can fit a US SIM card.Does 4G LTE work in the US? ›
Only LTE networks are widely available* in the United States after AT&T and T-Mobile shut down their 3G networks in February and July 2022. If you travel to the United States, you should be aware of how these network changes will affect you depending on the type of phone and service you have. See the chart below.Is Australia 4G or 5G? ›
Which mobile providers offer 5G in Australia? Good news! All three main mobile providers in Australia (Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone) now offer 5G phones and network access.
Depending on the wireless carrier, 4G can indicate either a UMTS or LTE connection. If your carrier doesn't support VoLTE and is a CDMA carrier, you'll only see an option to Enable LTE. This allows cellular-data use over the LTE network when available. Learn more about cellular data networks.Is it better to use LTE or 4G? ›
So what's the difference between 4G and LTE, and is 4G or LTE better? In short, 4G offers a much faster speed, more stability and access to a larger variety of online activities. LTE is a half-point between 3G and 4G, so its performance suffers compared to the fourth generation.Why does my phone say LTE instead of 4G? ›
In summary, LTE is a type of 4G technology that is designed to provide faster data speeds than previous wireless communication technologies. If your phone displays "LTE," it means that it is connected to an LTE network, while "4G" may indicate a connection to an HSPA+ network.Is LTE better than 4G or 5G? ›
5G networks deliver 5x to 10x lower latency than 4G LTE. Specifically, 5G provides 5 milliseconds over-the-air latency, a meaningful decrease, as compared to 4G LTE networks, which provide latency levels of 50 to 100 milliseconds. This means 5G offers instantaneous, always-on, and always-connected networks.Does LTE mean 5G or not? ›
5G vs LTE Speed: LTE offers speeds of up to 100Mbps, while 5G can deliver speeds of up to 1Gbps. 5G vs LTE Coverage: LTE has widespread coverage, but 5G is still in the early stages of deployment. LTE vs 5G Capacity: LTE can support up to 1000 devices per cell, while 5G can support up to 10,000 devices per cell.Is 4G LTE the same as Wi-Fi? ›
You've learned that Wi-Fi comes from a home internet connection, while 4G and 5G are mobile internet connections. 4G and especially 5G can be faster than a Wi-Fi network, but they are much more expensive.Can you use USA iPhone in Australia? ›
So the answer is – yes, an iPhone purchased in America should work in Australia, if it's one of the later models. The more recent iPhone versions (beginning with the 5 series) work over a very wide range of frequencies, making them compatible with networks in almost all countries.Can I use my cellphone in Australia? ›
In short, more than likely you will be able to use them. Most cell phone networks now operate world wide, some better than others. Before you leave for your destination it's a good idea to check with your provider what their terms and charges are for overseas roaming.Can I take my iPhone to Australia? ›
If you own an iPhone and you're traveling to Australia or New Zealand, you might be wondering how your handset will work Down Under. The good news: as long as you have a GSM-model iPhone (i.e., not the Verizon iPhone), and as long as it's unlocked, your iPhone will work just fine down here.How long will 4G last in Australia? ›
Eventually, in an estimated 15 to 20 years when there are few 4G LTE devices in use, most if not all of the spectrum will be used for 5G. Dynamic spectrum sharing lets carriers use the same spectrum band for both 4G and 5G.
In Australia, you can buy prepaid SIM cards in the official stores of mobile operators, such as Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone. These stores can be found in some airports, and in city shopping malls, among others.Which mobile works in Australia? ›
What you need to know. Telstra, Optus and TPG/Vodafone run the 3 mobile networks in Australia. They also sell their own mobile plans. Other phone companies called mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) offer plans but do not own the network infrastructure.Do you need a different SIM card for Australia? ›
You'll just need to grab an Australian SIM card. The Telstra network offers the largest coverage in Australia. If you're only travelling in the major cities, you probably won't notice much difference between the three network providers.Do you need a SIM card for Australia? ›
There are several things you should consider before buying your sim card, including: How much money you're willing to spend? Where you want to travel in Australia, if you're spending a lot of time in rural areas, you will need a sim card that operates on a network with comprehensive coverage (Telstra).What is the cheapest way to use your phone overseas? ›
Use Wi-Fi. One of the easiest ways to avoid international roaming charges is to connect to Wi-Fi networks. Most hotels, cafes, and restaurants offer free Wi-Fi. You can also purchase a portable Wi-Fi device or use a local SIM card that includes data usage.Is 4G LTE becoming obsolete? ›
Within the U.S., it's reasonable to assume that by the end of 2022 there will not be a single major carrier supporting 2G. The same fate awaits 3G. 4G LTE operates under a different scenario, and we can confidently say that 4G will be around for at least another decade.Can 4G be used internationally? ›
So it's highly likely that your phone will be fine to use on any overseas GSM network. While 2G and 3G can be a bit tricky, 4G is a little bit easier. Almost all countries, including Australia, use a single standard for 4G called Long Term Evolution, or LTE.What carriers use 4G LTE? ›
|CARRIER||4G LTE BANDS||4G LTE FREQUENCIES|
|VERIZON||2, 4, 5, 13, 66||1900, 1700/2100, 850, 700|
|T-MOBILE||2, 4, 12, 66, 71||1900, 1700/2100, 700, 600|
|SPRINT||25, 26, 41||1900, 850, 2500|
|US CELLULAR||2, 4, 5, 12||1900, 1700/2100, 850, 700|
3G and 4G are not disappearing anytime soon. If you don't have a 5G phone, that's fine. You can still access super-fast and extensive 4G coverage on the Telstra network until you're ready for a new 5G device. The 3G network will be decommissioned in 2024.How fast is 4G in Australia? ›
Telstra's 4GX network can reach speeds up to 300Mbps with premium modems and hotspots, such as its Netgear Nighthawk M2. Slower 4GX-capable devices reach downloads speeds of between 2-75Mbps, and standard 4G devices offer up to 50Mbps.
5G Australia: Rollout progression
Telstra's 5G network now covers over 80% of the Australian population, with the goal of hitting 95% of the population in 2025. Coverage spans Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart.
If 4G or LTE is available from your provider, you can switch to a 4G network in your cellular or mobile settings. If you don't see the 4G or LTE option on your Android and are sure your phone is compatible, dial #*#4636#*#* to enable the feature. Some carriers do not allow you to change your network type.Why is my phone using LTE instead of 5G? ›
When 5G speeds don't provide a noticeably better experience, your iPhone automatically switches to LTE, saving battery life.How do I change my iPhone data from LTE to 4G? ›
Choose Cellular. Choose Cellular Data Options. Choose Voice & Data. Choose an option, in this case, 4G.What country uses LTE? ›
Norway - 95.5% Hong Kong - 94.1% United States - 93.0%Why does my phone say LTE instead of 5G Verizon? ›
Where 5G is available, 5G-enabled devices show a 5G icon instead of a 4G LTE icon on the device screen. When you're using data in an area not covered by 5G, your device automatically shifts to our 4G LTE network. Visit our Verizon 5G network coverage map.Is 4G LTE slower than 5G? ›
5G is different from 4G because it's the newest form of wireless technology. It's over twice as fast as 4G on average and can deliver speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps in some urban areas. 5G phone and hotspot users experience less network congestion and lower latency rates.Which is better LTE or 4G on Iphone? ›
Data transfer speed
Significantly faster is 4G. True 4G gives up to 1,000 Mbps, whereas LTE only offers 100 Mbps. The disparity vanishes when we compare LTE-A speeds, which also provide 1,000 Mbps.
Therefore, the thing to remember is that 4G will not be going away anytime soon, regardless of how fast the 5G network grows. The plan is for existing 4G LTE networks to be used by carriers well into 2030.Does LTE use data? ›
To use the public LTE network, all you need are a data plan and a mobile device so that you can connect to your cellular service provider's network. When using the WiFi on the other hand, a wireless router is needed to access the internet through your laptop, smartphone or any other device.
- Open the Settings app.
- Tap' Network & Internet.
- Click 'Mobile Network'
- Select 'Preferred network type. '
- Choose the highest network generation you want to use.
LTE wireless broadband is about 10x faster than the 3G network and has an average download speed of 12-30 Megabits per second. It can also handle uploads to the internet at 2-5 MBps. There is no set standard for LTE speed. It is worth noting that it is faster than 3G.Do you need a SIM card for LTE? ›
LTE phones need SIM cards.
And, since LTE provides the fastest data, most newer phones also have LTE capabilities. Thus, most newer phones also take SIM cards.
Modern 4G LTE networks can exceed 5 Mbps upload speeds. That's enough bandwidth for streaming live in HD, but not at true broadcast quality. 5G networks, on the other hand, will reach speeds of up to 1 Gbps for download.Does LTE mean I have WiFi? ›
LTE stands for Long Term Evolution and is sometimes referred to as 4G LTE. It's a standard for wireless data transmission that allows you to download your favorite music, websites, and video really fast—much faster than you could with the previous technology, 3G.What frequency bands does 4G 5G use in Australia? ›
The first band in Australia for 5G has been 3400–3700 MHz, in the mid band. Prior to the launch of 5G, services using 4G have been using this band since 2016. In mid-2021, mmWave band 5G started to roll out in some cities, and in late 2021, spectrum licences were auctioned to support the deployment of low band 5G.What band number is 4G LTE? ›
4G frequencies include the 600 MHz, 700 MHz, 1700/2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, and 2500 MHz, bands. The lower frequencies made it possible for carriers to transmit 4G/LTE signals in rural and remote areas.What is the band range of 4G LTE? ›
4G LTE Frequency Bands & Spectrum Allocations. LTE is designed to work across a number of frequency bands – E-UTRA operating bands- currently ranging from 450 MHz up to 3.8GHz. The available bandwidths are also flexible starting with 1.4 MHz up to 20 MHz with Carrier Aggregation allowing use of wider multiples.What 4G band is used in USA? ›
What frequency ranges do I need for the USA? Data transmission requires the frequencies 850 and 1900 Mhz in the 4G (LTE) network. For the best possible connection, we recommend 700, 850 and 1900 Mhz (band 12, 5 and 2).Which network is best in Australia? ›
Telstra wins Download Speed Experience. It is the first Australian operator where our users saw average speeds in excess of 60 Mbps. Telstra's score of 60.7 Mbps, is up 5.8 Mbps (10.6%) from 54.9 Mbps in the last report and the operator wins with a lead of 8.6 Mbps.
5G uses 3 frequency bands: Low Band (700 – 900MHz) – for coverage. Mid Band (1800 – 3600MHz) – for coverage and capacity. High Band (26-28GHz) – for localised coverage and capacity.Is 4G faster than LTE? ›
Let's try to answer the most important question right away: LTE vs 4G, which is faster? If we talk about the original LTE, 4G is significantly faster. 4G is significantly faster. LTE offers only 100 Mbps, while true 4G offers up to 1,000 Mbps.Is LTE available in USA? ›
Only LTE networks are widely available* in the United States after AT&T and T-Mobile shut down their 3G networks in February and July 2022. If you travel to the United States, you should be aware of how these network changes will affect you depending on the type of phone and service you have. See the chart below.How do I know my 4G LTE number? ›
Want to know what your number is? Simply dial *999# to check your number.What band is Verizon 4G LTE? ›
|CARRIER||4G LTE BANDS||4G LTE FREQUENCIES|
|VERIZON||2, 4, 5, 13, 66||1900, 1700/2100, 850, 700|
|T-MOBILE||2, 4, 12, 66, 71||1900, 1700/2100, 700, 600|
|SPRINT||25, 26, 41||1900, 850, 2500|
|US CELLULAR||2, 4, 5, 12||1900, 1700/2100, 850, 700|
|>= -80 dBm||Excellent|
|-80 dBm to -90 dBm||Good|
|-90 dBm to -100 dBm||Fair to poor|
|<= -100 dBm||No signal|
Excellent signal strength for 4G is around -90 dBm.What is the fastest 4G LTE band? ›
FWIW, band 4 is T-Mobiles fastest band. Band 12 is used for distance and penetration, but has a low bandwidth.How do you check which band my phone is using? ›
into the area you normally use to input a phone number and press call. You will enter Field Test mode. 3G will either be at frequency 900Mhz or 2100Mhz.
Band 3 (1800 MHz): The most popular global band for LTE
There are 327 LTE or LTE-Advanced networks using 1800 MHz (Band 3) spectrum. Far more LTE networks have been deployed at 1800 MHz (band 3) than in any other frequency band.
Samsung tops the list with 15 smartphones that support all three LTE bands followed by Sony with 11 devices. Apple's iPhones was one of the first 4G device that was available in India and all iPhone starting from iPhone 5 support all three bands.