Australia's next step in LTE (Long Term Evolution) is one step closer after Optus announced today that it had successfully connected Australia's first LTE data call in the 700MHz 'Digital Dividend' spectrum band. This marks the commencement of Optus' 700MHz LTE trials in Bendigo, Victoria with technology partner Huawei, as it seeks to deliver faster mobile broadband services with superior coverage to existing 4G networks.
Günther Ottendorfer, Managing Director of Optus Networks said, "Today's announcement is a critical step in Australia's LTE future as Optus will be the first carrier in Australia to test a variety of commercially available consumer devices on a 700 MHz 4G network, including smartphones, tablets and 4G Wi-Fi hotspots. Optus is using these trials to understand how consumers can maximise the benefits of a modern LTE network."
The technology trials have begun this week after Optus became the first Australian carrier to be granted access to the Digital Dividend spectrum. The trial is being conducted in Bendigo as analogue television services have already been switched off in the area.
The 700MHz band is currently delivering LTE services in North America and will also be used in the Asia-Pacific region due to its ability to offer coverage at greater distances from mobile base stations than current LTE technologies available in Australia.
Optus is using this trial to measure how 700MHz LTE technology performs in terms of speed and coverage when compared to other LTE technologies. Another key component of the trial will be the ability to test a variety of current Optus services and applications including smartphone apps, mobile TV services, IPTV, low-latency gaming and HD video conferencing within an LTE environment.
The tests will also ensure that LTE in the 700MHz band does not interfere with any digital TV broadcast services once the spectrum has been auctioned in late 2012 and the switch off of analogue television services is completed nationwide at the end of 2014.
"This LTE trial is an important step in assessing the performance of next-generation mobile technology in the lead-up to 700MHz spectrum auctions in 2012," said Huawei Australia CTO Peter Rossi. "Huawei is the world's leading LTE vendor, with 18 commercial networks deployed globally, and our largest R&D teams dedicated to LTE innovation."
Optus Corporate Affairs
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The Optus Open Network
The Optus Open Network covers more than 97% of the Australian population for voice and data, and services more than 9 million mobile customers. Long Term Evolution (LTE) is an important milestone on Optus' technology roadmap to provide customers with lower latency and faster wireless data speeds. Optus will begin its LTE network rollout in October 2011. The first services will be available in Newcastle, Port Stephens, the Hunter Valley and Lake Macquarie areas from April 2012. Sydney, Melbourne and Perth will follow mid-year in line with widespread availability of devices. Optus will announce Phase 2 of its LTE rollout in the coming months.
Huawei is a leading information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider serving 45 of the world's top 50 telecom operators. In Australia, Huawei employs more than 700 staff and works with all major Australian operators – 50% of Australians already use some sort of Huawei product for their telecommunications needs. Huawei's products and solutions have been deployed in over 100 countries and support the communications needs of one third of the world's population. For more information, please visit: www.huawei.com.au, follow us on Twitter @HuaweiOZ and www.YouTube.com/HuaweiOZ.