UPDATE: Telstra launches 21Mbps Next G, announces pricing

Telstra's Next G network has hit 21Mbps and the telco promises to double that speed by year's end, but is a little vague about the speeds users will experience in everyday use.

Telstra has upgraded its Next G network to reach speeds of 21Mbps and will soon launch a mobile broadband modem said to offer up to 8Mbps connections to customers.

TechTarget ANZ attended the launch of the device and was told by its host - swimmer Duncan Armstrong readin from a script - that users would experience speeds of between "550Kbps and 8Mbps" depending on location and network traffic. When pressed on the speed users were likely to see when a cell on the network was in heavy use, Telstra representatives stuck to the "up to 8Mbps" claim and said this speed is possible because the company has made considerable invesment in backhaul to ensure faster downloads.

That investment is ongoing, with 70-75% of Australia's population currently covered by the faster service and April mentioned as the date for 85% coverage to be achieved after further backhaul work is completed.

The new modem, a Window-only USB device, is dubbed the Telstra Turbo 21 and will sold from February 23rd. Prices start at $299 on a plan or $499 outright. Business customers will be the first to be offered the device, with a consumer version forthcoming in April 2009.

Telstra says it plans further upgrades to the Next G network, with plans already afoot to increase speeds to 42Mbps by the end of the year.

Netcomm, meanwhile, has joined the 21Mbps fray, announcing a prototype 21Mbps HSPA+ wireless router that it says will go on sale later in 2009.

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