Does Telstra have a million 4G devices or not?


blog Those who’ve been keeping an eye on the rapid uptake of Telstra’s 4G network may be a little confused as to just how many devices the telco has connected to it. Take this article published in the Australian newspaper this morning. It quotes Telstra chief customer officer Gordon Ballantyne:

“We’re getting close to the million mark,” Ballantyne exclusively told The Australian ahead of the telco’s half-year results in February.

But wait a second … wasn’t this exactly the same thing which Telstra said more than two months ago? ZDNet quoted Telstra’s head of prepaid devices Stuart Bird on November 21 last year:

“We’re about to talk to the media about bringing up close to 1 million customers on 4G at Telstra, a wonderful achievement,” he said.

We’re faced with a difficult conumdrum here. If both Bird and Ballantyne are right, then Telstra had close to a million 4G devices on its network in late November, but that figure didn’t rise significantly over the busy Christmas period, so the telco is still trying to break the magic million number. However, it’s also possible that one or the other just didn’t know what they were talking about or that Ballantyne was merely quoting Bird. In any case, no matter how close Telstra is to having a million 4G devices on its network, we can say for certain that the telco is a lot closer than Vodafone (which has exactly zero) or Optus, which probably has a few tens of thousands by now (perhaps close to a hundred thousand). It’s nice to be the big T.

Image credit: Svilen Milev (author site), royalty free


  1. Regardless of how many they have, they had better start getting congestion under control lest 4G become as useful as 3G in our nations CBDs.

    I’ve been on 4G since the first week of the HTC Velocity, which was the first 4G device in Aus, and 4G performance has reduced, dramatically, in that time.

    • That’s what happens with wireless networks. When they more users they slow down. The network will still perform better than 3G and that is kinda the point.

  2. Yeah, you never know with Telstra. There is usually an element of spin on anything which comes out of anyone from Manager upwards. The statement may have originally been released to gee-up the sales staff as in “we’re close…just a liiiiitle bit more…” when in reality they’re quite a way off and there’s greater competition on the way. Mind you, ~820k 4G devices on Telstra is a pretty decent amount! Before reading the article I was expecting it to be 1M accounts which have access to their 4G network (although many would still be using 3G).

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