Telstra activates Cat M1 (eMTC) LTE, claims 99% 4G coverage

Australia's largest mobile carrier has switched on Cat M1 on its 4GX footprint in an effort to boost IoT uptake on its network.

Cat M1 operates over Telstra's '4GX' (B28 700 MHz) network and enables IoT devices to have greater reach in distance and depth into buildings. The company will soon deploy range extension capability and be able to offer customers with a Cat M1 enabled device a network footprint that is around three million square kilometres in area and penetrates far deeper into city buildings than 4G coverage has ever reached before. This will enable connectivity to such things as sensors in basements or communications panels in lifts. Cat M1 can even enable VoLTE voice calling on small portable devices with long battery life devices such as watches.

Telstra has also commenced the roll out and testing software that supports the Narrowband IoT (NB IoT) standard. NB IoT will deliver similar benefits of coverage and depth as Cat M1 for simpler devices that transmit small amounts of data that can be optimised for even longer battery life.

Industry in regional and rural Australia is likely to benefit most from these technologies and extensive coverage, as Cat M1 and NB IoT are ideally suited to use cases like agriculture, transportation and mining.

For instance, a sensor or meter could be deployed at a farm to track livestock or collect data on things like soil moisture, rainfall, air quality, and wind speed and direction. Because data collection can be  automated and real time, decisions can be made and optimised  faster than ever before increasing productivity, improving quality or shortening time to market.

This is a network that makes the future possible for regional and rural Australia. At Telstra we know connectivity is vital to regional, rural and remote communities, which is why we have consistently weighted network investments towards extending coverage. We’ve demonstrated this commitment over many years and as long as the right investment incentives remain in place we will continue to do so.

Mike Wright, Telstra's Group Managing Director of Networks, also announced that the company's 4G LTE coverage has reached 99.4% of the Australian population. 

"I’m extremely proud to say we have now expanded our 4G coverage to reach 99 per cent of the Australian population. This means our 4G coverage spans more than 1.4 million square kilometres, providing even more Australians with access to our world leading network.

We now have more than 7,000 4G sites across our network. These include areas like Kongwak, a small town in Victoria with a population of just 193; Taylors Arm in northern NSW, home to the Pub with No Beer made famous by the Slim Dusty song of the same name; and Green Island, a popular tourist destination in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef.

Combined, Telstra’s 3G and 4G coverage now reaches 99.4% of the population (up from 99.3%) and covers 2.4 million square kilometres of the Australian landmass, including hundreds of thousands of square kilometres of regional and rural Australia not served by any other carrier."