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 newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 2 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 3 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Oppo A77 smartphone: Full in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- 42,000 Telstra FTTN and FTTB customers to be compensated over NBN speeds
- Telstra reveals NBN payment plan amid market headwinds
- NBN hooks up 6 million homes and businesses
- Telstra says some of its NBN customers paid for unachievable speeds
- Australian broadband speed ranking drops again despite NBN rollout
PCW Evaluation Team
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
- Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review
- Apple TV 4K review
- Legion Y520 Gaming Laptop review
- 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
- CCDevOps Automation SME - Telco ClientVIC
- FTProgram Manager - Technology & EngineeringOther
- FTPMO Project Coordinator, Multiple projectsOther
- CCBusiness Analysts - agileACT
- FTService Desk Analyst - L1Other
- FTNetwork ArchitectNSW
- FTPerformance EngineerOther
- FTWeb Developer / ProducerOther
- CCCloud Test EngineerNSW
- FTMid-Level Drupal Developer (Brisbane Location)Other
- TPTechnical Lead (Office 365)QLD
- FTSplunk EngineerACT
- CCIntel IT ArchitectNSW
- CCIT Senior Business AnalystNSW
- CCLean Six Sigma Process Improvement Specialist - MELBOURNEQLD
- CCSenior Project manager - Telecom IndustryVIC
- FTSoftware DeveloperOther
- FTJunior-Mid Level Java DeveloperQLD
- FTAccount Management/Customer Service - MULTIPLE ROLESSA
- TPSenior Business Analyst - ASAP StartQLD
- FTData AnalystOther
- FTManager, PortfolioOther
- CCDevOps Engineer - AWS, Jenkins, GitVIC
- TPBusiness Continuity Senior Associate/ IT AuditNSW
- FTICT Cloud Transformation Program Coordinator - SAPOther