After Telstra announced they would begin trialling a 4G network running on the 700MHz spectrum purchased in the auction last year, Optus has today advised that they too will be running a trial using the same frequency. Optus advised that they will be turning on the 4G 700MHz network in Darwin and Perth CBDs letting their customers trial the network thanks to an early access license from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
When Optus participated in the auction run by the ACMA last year, they spent a total of $650 Million dollars, which got them 2 x 10 MHz (20 MHz) chunks of the 700 MHz band, as well as 2 x 20 MHz (40MHz) in the 2.5 GHz range. The 2.5GHz spectrum will become available for use in most of Australia in October this year, however the 700MHz network will go live in January.
When it does go live, Optus is planning an aggressive rollout, aiming to reach 90% of the Australian population by March 2015. Vic McClelland, Managing Director of Optus Networks, said of the 700MHz trial
‘This brings Optus one step closer to the launch of our national 4G 700MHz network as we bring 4G to more places around Australia. It allows us to move beyond the testing phase into what customers experience on our live commercial network and enables us to deliver an enhanced 4G network experience.’
As with the Telstra trial, Optus advised that their Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One (M8) handsets are compatible with the 700MHz network. It would be expected though that the range of compatible handsets will grow once the network goes fully live when the licenses for the 700MHz spectrum go fully effective as of January 2015, and Optus begin their full rollout.
If you use the Optus 4G network in the Perth or Darwin CBD with a Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8, let us know what you think of the network once it becomes available.