A select group of just five north coast towns have been chosen as part of Telstra’s early 4G network rollout, with towers beaming the faster signals to compatible handsets by Christmas, the telco promises.
Telstra boasts that 85 per cent of the population will be able to access a 4G signal by the end of the year, but it adds up to a very small percentage of the northern rivers, with just Yamba, Ballina, Grafton, Casino and Murwillumbah selected so far.
A Telstra spokesperson told Echonetdaily more locations would be included in the rollout but were still subject to confirmation.
‘Apart from those that have been confirmed we’re in the process of working through and identifying other areas we will be rolling 4G out by Christmas and as soon as we have those confirmed we will be letting the public know,’ she said.
She added that ‘less than a quarter of the 200 spots where we’re rolling out 4G’ had yet been confirmed and that new spots would be chosen ‘with a particular focus on areas of congestion and high holiday demand’.
Asked why key destinations such as Byron Bay, Lismore and Tweed Heads were not on the list she said, ‘Council approvals may be required’.
When Echonetdaily queried this, after readers who complained about the siting of telephone towers recently were told it was not in Council’s capacity to object to them, she responded, ‘it depends where the towers are located’.
For those who are still struggling with getting a 3G signal there’s potentially some upside too.
‘When we switch on 4G capability, it means those phones capable of using the 4G network free up extra space on 3G network – like opening up another lane on a highway,’ the spokesperson said.
The telco currently sells 27 4G devices, with most popular brands having at least one compatible handset, including Toshiba Z10T, Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC1, iPhone 5, Blackberry 210 and Nokia Lumia 925.
There are also a number of Telstra ‘blue tick’ devices that perform better in marginal areas, she said.