Australia’s Optus has completed its five year nationwide 3G upgrade programme, having enhanced more than 4,400 mobile sites across the country during the project with a view to providing ‘significantly better coverage indoors, enhanced call quality, and a more consistent experience overall for 3G customers’. The 3G 900MHz upgrade programme was reportedly completed this month after improvements were made to more than 70 sites in the nations’ capital, Canberra, this month. Commenting on the development, Andrew Smith, the operator’s vice president of mobile engineering, said: ‘Over the course of the programme, we’ve upgraded the bulk of our 3G network with 900MHz spectrum to create more capacity and coverage, raising our metro 3G indoors coverage from 70% to 94% over the past two years.’
Looking ahead, Optus has said it will continue to focus on 3G while expanding its 4G network, revealing that it has plans to roll out more than 100 new base stations across major metro and regional areas. Meanwhile, the cellco says it will ramp up its 4G deployment in the first half of 2014 in order to meet the increase data and speed demand of customers. It plans to deliver ‘significant’ 4G coverage by April in metropolitan and selected regional areas across Australia.
In terms of developing its fourth-generation offerings, Optus also said that it is preparing its 4G network for when it gains access to the 700MHz spectrum band, confirming that is has been granted trial licences to begin testing LTE using such frequencies in Sydney. Further, the operator has been handed what it claims is the country’s first outdoor metro trial licences for 4G in the 2600MHz band. Trials of LTE technology running over the aforementioned bands will allow Optus to start live testing what it called ‘the next evolution of [its] 4G network’, and it expects a commercial LTE2600MHz launch by end-2014, with 4G over 700MHz set to be introduced in early 2015.