Australia’s Optus has announced that it is switching on its first commercial 4G 700MHz network in the Central Business Districts (CBDs) of Darwin and Perth. With the operator noting that it has transitioned from technical trials to a commercial launch after the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) granted it early access commercial licences, the development will see the cellco’s 4G network in Perth enhanced, while it marks the first time it has made LTE available in Darwin. It is understood that Optus customers with compatible devices will be able to access the new 4G network in select areas, before it becomes more widely available from January 2015; from that latter date the 700MHz spectrum will be available for commercial use nationally, and Optus aims to expand its 4G network to around 200 holiday destinations and new regional locations, while also using the frequencies to improve the indoor 4G experience for customers in metro areas.
Commenting on the development, Vic McClelland, Managing Director of Optus Networks, noted: ‘We’re expanding our superfast 4G network to more Australians this year, with plans to reach 90% of the Australian population by March 2015 … 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.’