Thursday , March 23 2017

Australian Mobile Network Frequencies

bands

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At their simplest, mobile devices like smartphones and cellular-enabled tablets use radio waves to communicate with mobile networks. There’s three major mobile networks in Australia, being Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, and they each use a variety of network technologies to allow their customers to connect. Which LTE bands do you need? What about 3G? Let’s help you out.

Our mobile networks

As of August 2016, each of the three carriers uses three broad groupings of cellular technology to allow customers to connect:

  • 2G, or GSM, is where digital mobile services started in Australia, and the technology is now rather dated, however it remains available for legacy support. 2G provides both voice and data support, and while data is not especially quick, with EDGE (shown as an E on your phone) you can probably check your emails or browse some websites, albeit a little slowly.
  • 3G (also referred to as UMTS, HSPA and the like) is a faster network access technology which also supports data and voice. Data can be quite fast over 3G with the latest standards including HSPA+.
  • 4G is the latest technology, also known as LTE, and is primarily used for data at this stage, with calls dropping back to 3G (unless you’re one of the few accessing VoLTE).

Knowing whether your device could be used in Australia used to be fairly simple. 2G GSM only had four major frequency bands, and virtually all phones support all GSM bands. In the very early days this wasn’t the case, but for the last fifteen years or so, quad-band support is a given. 3G had quite a few more frequency bands, leading to some devices not working ideally in some countries, but with 4G, everything has gone out the window; there are a number of more common bands, but there are some far less common meaning importing devices for use in Australia isn’t as easy as it once was.

For BEST results you should try and buy a device that has either all Australian frequencies for each mobile technology (2G, 3g and LTE) or at least all frequencies for the carrier/s you intend on using the device with. Check the manufacturer’s specification page / online retailers site for the exact SKU you’re looking at, and what bands it likely supports.

Finding device compatible with the 2G and 3G bands should not be difficult, however, LTE bands across the world vary greatly, pay careful attention to the LTE bands.

Australian 2G, 3G, and 4G / LTE Bands

2G 3G 4G/ LTE

Optus

 900MHz  900MHZ
2100MHZ
Band 1
Band 3
Band 7
Band 28
Band 40
2100MHz
1800MHz
2600MHz
700MHz
2300MHz

Telstra

 900MHz  850MHz
2100MHz
Band 1
Band 3
Band 7
Band 8
Band 28
2100MHz
1800MHz
2600MHz
900MHz
700MHz

Vodafone

 900MHz   850MHz
900MHz
2100MHz
(being refarmed as 4G)
Band 3
Band 5
Band 1
1800MHz
850MHz
2100MHz
(Adelaide & Brisbane online)

This information was collated in collaboration with the three major carriers, we will maintain the information on this page to ensure it remains accurate in a timely fashion.

If you are importing a device you may have to choose between different SKUs that all offer some of the bands you need, unfortunately, granular information about where each frequency is deployed is typically not available from the carriers. If you need help you can always reach out to one of us and we’ll help where we can.

While CDMA phones remain somewhat common in other countries, they won’t work here unless they also support 2G/3G or 4G. Some do, but not all; importing a phone designed for a CDMA network (mostly found in the US) probably isn’t a good idea.

Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)

There are a significant number of MVNOs in Australia, which for all intents and purposes look like mobile networks, but in fact use the underlying networks of one of the big three carriers listed above. This list does change somewhat frequently, but it isn’t usually too hard to identify which carrier network your MVNO uses.

We’ll try and keep this list up to date, but this should give you a good idea of who is using what.

Virtual Operator
Network Used
Optus
Telstra
Optus
Optus
Telstra
Telstra
Optus
Optus
Optus
Optus
Optus
Optus
Optus
Optus
Vodafone
Vodafone
Optus
Optus
Vodafone
Vodafone
Vodafone
Vodafone
Vodafone
Optus
Telstra
Optus
Optus / Vodafone
Optus
Optus
Vodafone
Vodafone
Vodafone / Telstra
Optus
Vodafone
Vodafone
Vodafone
Vodafone
Optus
Optus/Telstra
Optus
Optus
Telstra
Vodafone / Telstra
Vodafone
Vodafone
Optus
Optus
Telstra
Optus