By Claire Reilly

SYDNEY, NSW: Telstra has launched its new, superfast 4G LTE mobile network today, promising consumers download speeds of up to 40 megabytes per second in coverage areas. In conjunction with today’s news, mobile phone company HTC has announced that it will be releasing its first 4G-compatible handset in early 2012.

The 4G network “marks a new high-speed chapter in Australian mobile telecommunications” according to Telstra CEO, David Thodey.

“Telstra’s 4G network delivers mobile speeds scarcely imagined a decade ago, making it easier for people to connect with the things they need and love when on the move,” said Thodey. “The superfast speeds mean consumers can download songs faster, get TV shows in minutes and do more things simultaneously.

“This is just the beginning. Telstra 4G will allow our mobile devices to perform even more advanced tasks and open the door to a host of innovative high-speed services that have yet to be conceived.”

Following a trial period with business customers last month, the 4G mobile network is now available to the general public. The Telstra network is available in all capital city CBDs and 30 regional areas, with approximately 80 regional centres expected to gain access to the network by Christmas 2011.

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The network is accessible using Telstra’s USB 4G mobile broadband modem, which is available as of today, with 4G-compatible mobile devices expected to follow in 2012.

“We know there is a huge appetite for 4G-powered smartphones and tablets and Telstra is working with some of the world's leading manufacturers to bring some of these devices to customers in the first half of 2012,” said Thodey.

One such manufacturer is HTC, which will launch its 4G-compatible smartphone (known creatively as the HTC 4G) in the first half of 2012. The Android-powered device will feature a dual-core processor, a 4.5-inch screen and an 8-megapixel camera.

“4G smartphones will bring the rich internet content Australians love on their home PCs to their hands and pockets,” Thodey said.

“In a matter of months, our customers will be able to stream their video and music collections over the mobile internet faster than before, access cloud-hosted applications and play fast-paced internet games direct from their smartphone screen.”

Also discussing HTC’s partnership with Telstra and the opportunities it provided was HTC CEO, Peter Chou.

“By partnering to deliver Telstra’s first 4G smartphone we are ushering in a new generation smartphone experience in Australia,” said Chou.

“Superfast network speeds in a device built with HTC’s focus on design, screen quality and delivery of the best customer experience is something that we are extremely excited about making available to Australian customers.”

The HTC 4G smartphone is expected in the first half of 2012.