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Optus to build faster 4G network with acquisition of Vividwireless

Optus today announced that it has entered into a conditional agreement to acquire Vividwireless Group Limited (which operates under the vividwireless and unwired brands) from Seven Group Holdings (SGH), for an expected cash consideration of A$230 million.

Through the acquisition, Optus will also gain access to up to 98MHz of spectrum in the 2.3GHz band, a band already used by some of the world’s leading operators to provide 4G services.

Optus plans to use this spectrum to build a new 4G network using LTE-TDD technology. This new network will deliver wireless broadband to households and businesses in metropolitan Australia with typical download speeds ranging from 25Mbps to 87Mbps*" twice as fast as existing competitive 4G services. It will be integrated with Optus' 1800MHz 4G network, which will be launched in Newcastle and the Hunter region of New South Wales in April 2012.

Paul O'Sullivan, Optus Chief Executive said "The acquisition of Vividwireless will give Optus a significant increase in network capacity to address the next wave of data growth that is just around the corner. By integrating it with our current 4G rollout (in the 1800MHz band), we will be able to provide increased mobile speeds to our customers in metropolitan Australia."

Peter Gammell, Chief Executive Officer of Seven Group Holdings said, "We are proud of our achievements with Vividwireless. For Seven Group Holdings this sale recognises value for the investment we've made in Vividwireless. Optus' expertise will allow the business to grow into the future and take the pioneering work we've done in 4G to the next level."

"Optus was born out of a desire to provide choice and competition to Australians for telecommunications services. Today's announcement demonstrates our commitment to being a leader in 4G and in providing Australians with a range of high speed mobile services. This is an important step in our vision to lead the industry in customer experience by delivering relevant content and applications anywhere, on any device," Mr O'Sullivan said.

The agreement includes the transfer of Vividwireless' operating businesses, customer bases, spectrum licences and 4G network.

The successful completion of the transaction is subject to a number of conditions, including the reissue of Vividwireless' 2.3GHz spectrum licence and approval from the ACCC and FIRB. The acquisition will be funded from internal sources of funds and debt.

*Based on a two month trial of LTE-TDD conducted by Vividwireless in early 2011. The speed range quoted is the 25th - 75th percentile.

Media contacts:
Liz Greene/Joshua Drayton
Optus Corporate Affairs
Tel: (02) 8082 7850