Telstra and TPG Telecom announced that they have restacked their existing spectrum holdings to improve their 4G services.
The telcos have defragmented their spectrum holdings within the 2100MHz and 1800MHz bands to achieve contiguous holdings in Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra, Darwin and Hobart.
Spectrum restacking involves defragmenting and shifting spectrum to create adjoining or connecting spectrum holdings to allow the network to offer higher data speeds to customers.
Telstra joined together separate 10 MHz spectrum blocks to form single 20MHz blocks in the six cities mentioned above. TPG didn’t provide a detailed process.
Telstra group executive for networks and IT Nikos Katinakis said the project demonstrated that competitors, with the support of the ACMA, can work together to optimise their spectrum holdings to deliver better connectivity for their customers.
“This is a win for Telstra customers who’ve seen an immediate improvement in Telstra 4G speeds in these locations and also shows telcos can work together to drive better network outcomes,” Katinakis said.
“Larger spectrum blocks are more efficient and mean we can deliver faster mobile network speeds to our customers.”
Katinakis added that Telstra saw average 4G speeds improve by at least 10 percent in every city where the restack was done,and 20 percent in Canberra and Darwin. The telco can now also carry more traffic on larger spectrum blocks, like the restacked 1800MHz spectrum in Canberra now carries 14 percent more traffic.
TPG Telecom executive general manager for mobile and fixed networks Barry Kezik said customers in these cities have experienced an immediate improvement in their mobile data speeds as a result of the restack.
“Since the spectrum restack, we have observed a 10 to 20 percent improvement in mobile data speeds, and traffic has increased significantly as customers take advantage of these faster speeds,” Kezik said.
“We are continually looking at ways we can improve the customer experience across our mobile network.”
Kezik added that while contiguous spectrum is a goal of the industry, telcos sometimes have spectrum holdings that are split into two or more fragments within a frequency band and that successive spectrum allocations over a number of years has been a reason for this.
“As we refarm spectrum gradually from 4G to 5G over the coming years, there will be additional performance benefits to harness.”