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Is Kogan's Agora not compatible with the 850 3G network?

Online customer reports and PC World's own testing indicate that Australian online retailer Kogan appears to be selling an Android smartphone that isn't compatible with the 850MHz 3G network in Australia, despite being advertised as such.

The Kogan Agora Android smartphone, which was announced back in January and began shipping to consumers in mid-February, is currently advertised as supporting the 800MHz, 850MHz and 2100MHz 3G network bands.

Despite Kogan's insistence that the Agora is technically capable of supporting the 850MHz network, a number of users online have reported that phone does not operate on this band. The band is used by both Telstra and Vodafone in Australia.

PC World Australia can confirm that our review unit of the Kogan Agora is incapable of connecting to 850MHz network towers.

Our review device happily connects to 2100MHz network towers using the Telstra network in the North Sydney area to provide 3G service. However, when travelling away from the city the phone can only pick up a 2G, EDGE signal.

The fastest data speeds we managed when away from the city area was a meagre 0.18 megabits per second (Mbps) download and just 0.04Mbps upload.

The specifications listing for the Agora on Kogan's website, which shows 850MHz 3G compatibility.

Telstra's Next G network operates on the 850Mhz frequency though heavily congested areas, usually ones close to CBD locations, use 2100Mhz towers to provide extra capacity.

Vodafone operates primarily on the 850MHz frequency for major metropolitan locations, but it also uses the 900MHz frequency in regional areas of Australia and the 2100MHz frequency in smaller, urban areas.

Curiously, Kogan's own mobile network, Kogan Mobile, uses the Telstra wholesale 3G network to provide its service. This network is capped below the regular speeds of Telstra's 'Next G' network but primarily uses 850MHz network towers.

PC World Australia contacted Kogan for comment on this issue and the company provided the following response through a spokesperson.

A test screenshot Kogan sent to PC World Australia allegedly specifying that the Agora works on the 850Mhz 3G network.

Kogan also supplied us a specifications sheet, which details the capabilities of each SIM card slot on the Agora smartphone as follows:

Kogan has promised to send PC World Australia a second review unit of the Agora. We will update this article with any necessary changes should the new model work on the 850 network.

Have you bought a Kogan Agora smartphone? Does it work on the 850MHz 3G network in Australia? Let us know in the comments below!


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