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Optus sets new milestone with the expansion of mobile network coverage to 98 per cent
07 May 2008

Optus announced today that it would embark on an investment program to expand its nationwide mobile network beyond 96 per cent population coverage to reach 98 per cent. The program will cost $315 million and is targeted for completion by December 2009.

"Today marks the dawn of a new era for mobile competition in Australia. The extended Optus network will bring choice and value to people who have been limited to the incumbent's network for too long," Mr Paul O'Sullivan, Optus Chief Executive said.

"With this significant expansion we will be the only mobile carrier capable of challenging the incumbent's network reach. We will deliver superior coverage and wireless services across the country and drive increased market share for Optus.

"Optus invests over $1 billion annually in improving Australia's telecoms networks, products and services. Only last year we announced a $500 million investment to upgrade our mobile network to bring 3G and high speed wireless broadband to reach 96 per cent of the population. Now we will bring wireless, voice and broadband services to a further two per cent of the population along with greater choice, better service and sensational value.

"Optus' 3G mobile network is currently being upgraded to deliver broadband speeds of up to 7.2 Megabits per second (Mbps). We have plans in place to increase to speeds of up to 28 Mbps from late 2009. In addition, Optus will also work with its strategic partners to make the network capable of up to 42 Mbps by mid 2010," Mr O'Sullivan said.

At least 750 new base stations will be added, extending Optus' mobile network coverage by 400,000 square kilometres to a total network coverage of more than one million square kilometres.

This significant expansion of the Optus network will be achieved using 900 Megahertz (MHz) spectrum, utilising High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) wireless broadband technology. The network will extend the footprint to reach areas including Fitzroy Crossing in Western Australia and Tumby in South Australia, through to Weipa in Far North Queensland.

"The Australian landscape is perfectly suited to using the 900MHz spectrum band to deliver high speed mobile broadband. Utilising this frequency, radio signals have a greater reach - enabling better quality and wider coverage across sparsely populated rural and remote areas as well as an enhanced depth of coverage. This also translates into cost efficiencies, with fewer base stations required to cover the land mass between locations," Mr O'Sullivan said.

As at 31 December 2007, Optus have over 7 million mobile subscribers.

Media contact:
Simone Bergholcs
Optus Corporate Affairs
Tel: (02) 8082 7846

*Actual speeds will vary and may be slower. Many factors affect such as: your location and distance from the Optus Mobile tower; the network used to connect to the service and its configuration (the Optus 3G/HSPA or GSM network); the number of users sharing the network; the source of your download; general Internet traffic; your hardware and software configuration.

Note to Editor:
A selection of areas receiving Optus coverage for the first time include:

NSW - Coleambally, Drake, Goolgowi, White Cliffs, Wilcannia, Collarenebri, Walcha, Ebor, Nymagee, Ivanhoe, Urana, Coolamon, Delegate, Whiporie, Brooms Head, The Oaks, Tingha, Colo Heights, Patterson, Phils Creek, Pilliga, Bidgeemia, Bingara and Bocoble Mountain

Victoria - Sea Spray, Quambatook, Dingee, Ultima, Marlo, Goroke, Hotspur, Watchem, Harrow, Tambo Crossing and Barmah

Tasmania - Zeehan, Queenstown, St Mary's, Bicheno. Waratah, Swansea, St Helens, Scamanda, Scottsdale, Bridport, Avoca, Sheffield, Mt Blackwood, Port Arthur, Southport, Bothwell, Kettering, Cygnet, Copping, Dunalley and Orford

Western Australia - Broadwater, Pannawonica, Tapping, Amelup, Arrowsmith, Bremer Bay, Bruce Rock, Buntine, Burracoppin East, Cataby, Chittering, Coral Bay, Cuballing, Dwellingup, Eneabba, Fitzroy Crossing, Frankland and Gibson

South Australia - Coffin Bay, Orroro, Venus Bay, Nullarbor Roadhouse, Tumby Bay, Port Neil, Port Victoria, Kimba, Elliston, Salt Creek, Marion Bay and Lock

Queensland - Richmond, Boulia, Georgetown, Normanton, Weipa, Alpha, Barcaldine, Flying Fish Point, Winton, Palm Island, Burketown, Byfield, Cape Tribulation, Gore, Hayman Island, Tabletop Mountain, and Texas

Northern Territory - Dundee Downs, Adelaide River, Darwin River, Batchelor, Lake Bennett and Wagait Beach

A selection of areas receiving enhanced coverage include:

NSW - Dubbo, Macksville, Armidale, Lismore, Coffs Harbour, Griffth, Albury, Tamworth, Moruya, The Hunter, Grafton and Casino

Victoria - Ballarat, Drouin, Mount Macedon, Nagambie, Mount Hotham, Wodonga, Dalyston, Tongala, Mount Taylor, Huntly and Strathfieldsaye

Western Australia - Bunbury, Karratha, Port Hedland, Broome, Albany, Esperance, Geraldton, Margaret River and Austriland

South Australia - Port Lincoln, Port Augusta, Gawler, Clare, Renmark, Mount Pleasant and Mount Barker

Queensland - Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Cairns, Townsville, Toowoomba, Gladstone, Mackay, Rockhampton and Biloela

Northern Territory - Darwin and regional areas including Alice Springs North, Humpty Doo, Howard Springs, Knuckey Lagoon and Millner