Telstra USB 4G modem
Telstra USB 4G Modem review: The Telstra USB 4G modem offers vastly improved download and upload speeds provided you're in a 4G coverage zone
- Excellent speeds in 4G coverage areas
- Quick and easy to install
- No price premium over Next G products
- 4G speeds limited to capital cities and major regions
- Telstra remains more expensive than competitors
- Not available on pre-paid plans
Telstra's USB 4G Modem is the first mobile broadband device in Australia to run on the company's new "4G" LTE network. While the validity of Telstra's claim to offer true "4G" can be debated, there's no doubt the USB 4G modem offers significant speed benefits compared to its regular Next G network. However, you'll only experience this faster speed if you're in a 4G coverage area, which right now is limited to capital cities and selected metropolitan and regional areas.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
Telstra's USB 4G Modem is the first mobile broadband device in Australia to run on the company's new "4G" LTE network. The USB 4G Modem promises typical download speeds of between 2 megabits per second (Mbps) and 40Mbps but you'll only achieve these speeds in currently limited areas of 4G coverage.
The Telstra USB 4G Modem is larger than most regular mobile broadband devices, but it looks almost identical to Telstra's previous Ultimate USB Modem. The USB 4G modem has a gloss black finish that's not very kind to fingerprints, and it features "4G" branding on both sides. Two antenna ports are located on the top of the modem hidden by plastic covers, and LED lights on the back flash green or red to denote power and data traffic.
The Sierra Wireless manufactured modem is reasonably slim and has a hinged, rotatable connector that allows it to be positioned at various angles. We tested the USB 4G modem on an Apple MacBook Pro and the connector doesn't hinder access to the adjacent USB port on the left side. However, it's a pretty tight squeeze if you want to plug another USB device in while using the 4G modem.
The Telstra USB 4G Modem has a regular SIM card slot (Telstra's 4G network runs on a regular BigPond SIM) and a microSD card slot to allow the device to double as a flash drive. The software required to run the modem is included on the modem itself; for Windows users, the installer will automatically open, while Mac users simply double-click the file that appears on the desktop the first time the modem is plugged in.
Telstra's Connection Manager software allows you to access session information, including sent and received data, 4G/3G indicators and signal strength. It's also been given a fresh coat of paint to match Telstra's colourful new branding: the logo on the Mac version is a mixture of pale blue.
The Telstra USB 4G Modem is marketed as a 4G device, but it uses both 3G and 4G technology. If you move out of an area with 4G coverage, the USB 4G modem will switch across to the regular Next G 3G network.
Initial "4G" Telstra coverage (denoted by the dark blue patches on Telstra's coverage map) stretches across all eight capital cities and their respective airports in Australia, along with 30 out of a possible 80 regional and metropolitan centres. Telstra says it will continue the LTE rollout into other coverage areas "where demand requires the extra capacity", but the telco has also promised to enable 50 further locations by the end of the year.
Using the Telstra USB 4G modem in an LTE coverage area should result in "typical" download speeds of between 2 megabits per second (Mbps) and 40Mbps and typical upload speeds of between 1Mbps and 10Mbps. These are best case scenarios though, and the results we achieved were far less, albeit still pretty impressive. Like all mobile broadband products, the speed will depend on a number of factors including time, location, network coverage, signal strength and congestion.
The speeds we encountered in our North Sydney office (which is in the 4G coverage zone) were impressive but not as fast as Telstra's quoted "typical" speeds. Using PC World's Broadband speed test, we managed to achieve a top download speed of 29.75Mbps, which is admittedly very impressive for a wireless device. Upload speeds during testing peaked at around 11Mbps (higher than Telstra's quoted 10Mbps), though generally hovered between 6-8Mbps on most occasions.
In a 4G coverage zone, it took us less than a minute and a half to download a 77.4MB iTunes file with the USB 4G modem. Keep in mind, though, that you'll only achieve these faster speeds within 4G coverage zones — the rest of the time you'll switch over the regular Next G network.
Perhaps the best thing about the Telstra USB 4G modem is the fact it’s the same price as the telco's previous Ultimate USB modem. It's available for $0 upfront on four plans ranging from $19.95 per month (1GB data) to $79.95 per month (15GB data). For more information on plans, visit Telstra's Web site.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Huawei Mate 9
Acer Swift 7
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® Portable SSD
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Surface Pro 4
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Dell XPS 13 laptop
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 2 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
- 3 Panasonic Blu-ray recorder PVR set-top box review
- 4 Garmin Fenix Chronos fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 5 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
Latest News Articles
- Australian broadband speed ranking drops again despite NBN rollout
- Rowland says govt supressing unflattering NBN information
- nbn grows customer base, but suffers EBITDA loss
- [Updated] Labor has ruled out a Royal Commission into the NBN
- NBN: Labor to offer ‘greater proportion of fibre’, still not sold on FTTN
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Behind the scenes with Team Walkinshaw at V8 Supercars Melbourne 2017
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- First look at the Formula 1 2017 pit lane in Melbourne, Australia
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTUX DesignerNSW
- FTAssociate Consultant - IT Project ServicesVIC
- FTAGILE Implementation Manager ContractNSW
- FTHadoop Service AdministratorSA
- CCSenior Network Architect l CCIE R&S l Cisco ACINSW
- FTQA LeadNSW
- FTBusiness Solution Architect, Supply ChainNSW
- TPBusiness Project Manager - DigitalNSW
- FTDrupal Developer - Senior or Mid levelQLD
- CC.NET Developer!QLD
- FTHR Application Architect - WorkdayVIC
- FTDatabase Modelling SpecialistACT
- FTDatabase Modelling SpecialistSA
- TPSenior SAP Time and Payroll Functional ConsultantQLD
- FTFull Stack .Net Developer Developer (Front and Back end)QLD
- FTServer Engineer l Windows l VMWare l Active DirectoryNSW
- TPGIS Resource Data & TestingQLD
- CCSenior Teradata Developer/Analyst Programmer - Financial - Contract - ParramattaNSW
- FTLead DevOps EngineerNSW
- CC.net Developer (Front and Back end)QLD
- FTService Desk Consultant - Entry Level / GraduateNSW
- FTSystems AdministratorNSW
- CCApplication ArchitectQLD
- TPSAP BA - Source to PayQLD