Optus has been busily testing their newly acquired 700MHz network around various sites in Australia, accessing the network through early access licenses issued by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in preparation for the Australia wide launch of the network in January. Today Optus has switched on their 700MHz network in Canberra, paving the way for customers to eventually have the option to use one 4G network Australia wide.
Currently, Optus users in Canberra have only been able to access the 4G network using the 2300MHz frequency, which has limited handset support, even leading Optus to introduce a specific Galaxy S4 variant (GT-i9507) when it launched last year. With the rollout of the 700MHz going Australia wide, handset support will get a lot less confusing when it launches in January.
This newer network with its lower frequency, will allow improved indoor 4G coverage, as well as expanding their existing 4G service. Optus currently offers 700MHz 4G services at 20 locations in Canberra, with the plan to further expand 4G services in Canberra using the 700MHz network. Vic McClelland, Managing Director of Networks at Optus said,
This is great news for consumers, Government and business in the ACT. Our new spectrum will offer improved indoor 4G coverage and expand our existing 4G services. With Optus 4G, customers with compatible devices will be able to enjoy a faster and more reliable mobile internet experience and can download, upload and stream music, pictures and videos at superfast speeds.
There’s a large range of Optus 4G devices compatible with the 700MHz network, including the Samsung Galaxy S5, LG G3, Sony Xperia Z3 and HTC One (M8). A range of other 4G 700MHz devices, such as dongles are also available through Optus and more devices will be added in the future as new phones are launched.
The full launch of the 700MHz network will begin nationally in January, which will expand on the current test sites which Optus has already launched. Optus aims to cover 90% of the Australian population by April 2015, offering coverage in more than 200 regional and holiday destinations. To check which areas are offering coverage on the Optus network, see the coverage checker on the Optus network.