LTE has quickly gone from a pipedream to an everyday feature in Australia.
Roughly 18 months since Telstra flicked the switch, Optus rolled out its own 4G network. Vodafone has joined the 4G party as well, switching on its LTE network for customers in June 2013.
But what exactly is 4G? How do you get it? How is it different between networks? And is it worth the money? This is TechRadar's ultimate guide to 4G in Australia.
What is 4G?
Simply put, 4G stands for 4th generation. It's the fourth major technology in mobile telecommunications, and delivers faster data speeds than the 3G technologies it's replacing.
Confusingly, 4G can refer to two different technologies - WiMax and LTE. In Australia though, it's almost exclusively used to refer to LTE, or what's known as Long Term Evolution.
Australia did have a WiMax operator in the form of Vividwireless, right up until the point they were bought out by Optus in early 2012. Optus is now using the spectrum gained through the acquisition to enhance its own LTE network, meaning that WiMax is, for all intends and purposes, obsolete in Australia.
Like previous generations of mobile technology 4G LTE works across a number of different frequencies depending on where you are in the world. In Australia, the current LTE networks use the 1800MHz spectrum.
That said, Optus has also rolled a 2300MHz network in Canberra, while both Telstra and Optus will be launching services on the 700MHz thanks to wins in the digital dividend auction.
When Apple launched the new iPad and claimed it offered 4G, it was only available on the 700MHz and 2100MHz spectrums. Because no Australian carrier offers those frequencies for LTE, the ACCC took Apple to task, forcing them to change the name to "Wi-Fi + Cellular".