Telstra on Sunday announced plans to launch a 1-Gbps mobile service later this year, and revealed it is working with Netgear on a mobile hotspot that will run on the upgraded network.

In a press conference on the eve of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the Australian incumbent said it will test the network during the first half of the year before rolling out services in the central areas of Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney later in 2016.

"It's quite an incredible breakthrough for us," said Mike Wright, managing director of networks at Telstra, who explained that the network will support a peak throughput of 1 Gbps on the downlink and 150 Mbps on the uplink.

To achieve the high speed, Telstra is aggregating three 20-MHz carriers. Wright said he is yet to decide which frequency bands to use, but pointed out that his company holds in excess of 20 MHz of paired spectrum in the 700 MHz, 1800 MHz, and 2.6 GHz bands.

In addition to carrier aggregation (CA), the telco is also using 4x4 multiple input, multiple output (MIMO), and 256-QAM – a signal modulation scheme that offers a higher data-rate. The equipment is being supplied by Ericsson.

Telstra has also partnered with device maker Netgear to develop a mobile broadband hotspot that will be technically capable of accessing the high speeds offered by the upgraded network.

Powered by Qualcomm's new Snapdragon X16 LTE modem and packing a 4,300 mAh battery, Telstra's director of device management Andy Volard said it is expected to be the world's first LTE category 16 device.

"We're re-envisioning what a mobile hotspot is," he said, explaining that up to 20 devices can connect to it at once, and its battery can be used to charge another device, like a smartphone or tablet.

Volard said its shape resembles a large hockey puck, and is includes a screen that can be used to monitor data use.

As well as its newly-announced 1-Gbps mobile service, Telstra announced it will also launched voice over WiFi (VoWiFi) in the first half of 2016 to improve the experience for customers with poor indoor cellular coverage.

Furthermore, in the second half