Telstra’s new Ultimate USB modem : 42mbps max speed

Telstra has launched a new mobile wireless USB modem today that is said to reach an average speed of 20mbps in certain metropolitan areas.

The new mobile wireless broadband modem runs on Telstra’s Next G network, and rivals a dongle released by Chinese tech company Huawei, which is also said to reach a theoretical maximum speed of 42mbps. Both models are built using the same HSPA technology.

Telstra claims the Ultimate USB modem will typically reach a speed of around 20mbps if it’s used within 5km of the central business district in capital cities. Outside of these districts, in other selected metropolitan hubs and some regional areas, the model is said to reach a maximum speed of 1.1mbps.

The USB modem will cost $299, to be paid in one upfront payment. Customers will also need to sign up for a two-year data plan with Telstra, and it is currently only available to customers with an Australian Business Number (ABN).

Telstra’s 8mbps Elite USB modem will continue to be available to customers, and will not receive a reduction in price.

About half of the population of Australia will have coverage to use Telstra’s new modem; although it will be no substitute for the coverage and speed capable by the National Broadband Network.

However, Telstra executive director Mark Wright has explained that the USB modem is not intended to be a substitute: "The heavy lifting will always be done by fibre networks... this is about the convenience of mobility."

Telstra is still aiming to achieve a theoretical maximum speed of 84mbps on their mobile wireless broadband network by 2011-2012.