Australian telecoms incumbent Telstra says more than 3.2 million 4G devices are now operating on its network just two years after it first launched the high-speed technology.
Telstra’s (Melbourne, Australia) ability to convert customers to 4G looks impressive considering that UK operator EE (Hatfield) – which provides services in a much bigger market, in terms of population, but over a much smaller geographical area – took ten months to sign up one million 4G customers despite being a monopoly provider of the technology over that period.
Progress by Telstra means that more than a fifth of the operator’s overall mobile subscriptions are now using the 4G service.
“There has been unprecedented demand for superfast mobile services over the last two years,” said Warwick Bray, group executive director of Telstra Mobile and Wireline.
“Since launch, we have activated more than 3.2 million 4G devices on our 4G network. This includes more than 360,000 4G smartphones since June 30 this year, or more than 25,000 per week.”
The operator has recently been polishing its 4G proposition, launching what it claims are the first shared data plans in Australia and extending network coverage into previously unserved regions.
“We currently have more than 100 construction teams across the country building out our 4G network at a rate of up to 100 new sites per week,” said Mike Wright, Telstra’s executive director of networks. “We will switch on another 1000 4G base stations by Christmas 2013 which will take 4G to 85% of the population, including 300 regional towns and holiday hotspots.”
The operator has also been taking advantage of the 700MHz and 2.5GHz spectrum it won in a recent government auction to boost the speed of the 4G service it offers to customers.
Despite the strong interest in 4G, however, Telstra has reported a decline in overall average revenue per user (ARPU) at its mobile business over the previous financial year, with the monthly figure dropping from AUD46.08 ($43.54) for the year ending June 2012 to AUD43.84 for the 12 months to June 2013.