Optus launches 4G trials in Perth, Darwin

Dylan Bushell-Embling
telecomasia.net

Australia's Optus has accelerated its planning for a nationwide 4G rollout, and introduced a mobile data-sharing range of plans.

The operator will today commence closed 4G trials using the 700-MHz and 2600-MHz bands in Perth and Darwin.

The sites complement Optus' existing 700-MHz and 2600-MHz sites in Sydney, and the company is also trialling TD-LTE over the 2300-MHz band in Canberra.  

Optus vice president of mobile radio engineering Andrew Smith called the trials “a vital step in Optus getting ready for its national 4G launch in the 700 MHz and 2600 MHz bands. Optus will be able to test our full spectrum stack from 700-MHz to 260- MHz in Darwin and Perth across a decent sized footprint.”

Optus secured spectrum in the 700-MHz and 2600-MHz bands during last year's $2 billion “digital dividend” auction.

The 700-MHz band will be made available for mobile network use from the start of 2015, while spectrum in the 2600-MHz band will become available in October 2014 across most of Australia and from February 2016 in Western Australia.

Optus separately announced the launch of a new line of mobile plans that allow customers to share their data allocation across multiple devices.

The bundling plans allow data to be shared across up to five devices with no ongoing fees. Optus will charge a one-time A$5 ($4.65) set-up fee per device.

The company also announced a SIM-only version of its MyPlan mobile contract that does not have a lock-in period. In a bid to cut down on bill shock, MyPlan customers will meanwhile be charged only A$10 for every 1GB of excess data used.

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