Will the 4GX mobile network of Telstra Corporation Ltd see it win big in 2015?

Australia’s leading telecommunications business Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) has announced that it has switched on its latest 4GX mobile service in parts of central Melbourne and surrounding suburbs.

Telstra says that for customers with compatible devices it is now delivering some of the fastest commercial mobile speeds in the world, with Melbournians generally getting improved data download speeds and more reliable networks.

The company also said that in Melbourne mobile data carried over the network on a typical day has increased 500-fold over last five years. The increase in mobile data use is a trend that does not look like slowing down anytime soon, with mobile video consumption an increasing driver of the growing demand.

Indeed, more people have been joining Telstra’s mobile network recently due to its wide national coverage, reliability, and fast download speeds. Especially when compared to rival networks operated by Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (CHESS) (ASX: SGT) and Hutchinson Telecommunications (Aus) Ltd (ASX: HTA).

Telstra also has ambitious plans to develop businesses in Asia, a market with almost unlimited opportunity due to its fast-growing middle-class populations and relatively under-developed nature. Growth in data demand in Asian cities could be expected to dwarf that of Australia, while the provision of services in the shift to cloud computing also offers massive money-making opportunities in Asia.

The company also yesterday announced the signing of an $11 billion agreement with the Australian government to help deliver the high-speed NBN internet network to homes across Australia.

Analysts’ forecasts for Telstra’s earnings growth in the year ahead to be flat suggest the stock is around fully valued when selling for $5.70 at around 17x estimated earnings.

However, the fully franked yield should attract investors in the year ahead, and assuming it pays out at least 30 cents per share this financial year it trades on a yield of 5.26%.

With a large amount of cash sitting on its balance sheet there’s the possibility that the telco raises its dividend payout, or announces a further share buyback in the year ahead. Either option would be welcome news for today’s investors and likely support the share price in 2015.

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Motley Fool contributor Tom Richardson has no financial interest in any company mentioned. You can find him on Twitter @tommyr345

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