Thinking about lining up for the new iPad at Telstra’s early launch in Sydney or Melbourne tonight then use it on their awesome LTE network? Think again.
Apple has been advertising the iPad as LTE capable, which it is, but not in Australia. As of writing this Telstra is the only telco providing an LTE service in the country, which as of now is only available in major cities around Australia. The network operates on the 1800Mhz spectrum but the iPad is currently only capable of using LTE networks running on the 700Mhz and 2100 Mhz spectrum.
The reason Telstra is using the 1800Mhz spectrum is that it’s left over from their old CDMA network. Going forward 700Mhz band which the iPad supports will is the band Telstra hopes to use but currently it’s used for analog TV. Bidding war for the spectrum is expected to happen towards the end of the year so we probably won’t see a 700Mhz network for a couple of years. The galaxy tab on the other hand which was released earlier this year, does support Telstra LTE network.
As for the other major mobile network providers in Australia, Optus and Vodafone are yet to launch 4G offerings in Australia. An article from ZDnet indicates that Vodafone’s LTE will also run on the unsupported 1800Mhz, while Optus is also targeting 1800Mhz in the city, but could use the supported 2100Mhz in regional areas. With no firm timelines or coverage maps announced, this could hardly amount to a credible reason for getting the 4G iPad.
Keep in mind that the new 4G iPad will have one additional feature over the WiFi-only model, that is GPS. While the WiFi-triangulation does a pretty good job, the A-GPS of the 4G iPad will achieve much more accurate location information. While not something you immediately think of, this could actually have important ramifications when it comes to geotagged images coming from that upgraded camera.
The new iPad is now reaching consumers hands in midnight launches around the country. One interesting note is that Apple are including a disclaimer card in the box of the Australian 4G iPad.