Optus to launch LTE in Adelaide, Canberra early next year

Optus will launch a time-division duplex long-term evolution (TD-LTE) network in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) in March or April 2013, but it will have to be marketed very differently to the rest of the company’s 4G network.

In February 2013, Optus will close down the Unwired network that it picked up as a result of its AU$230 million acquisition of Vividwireless in February this year. In doing so, it will free up 98MHz of spectrum in the 2.3GHz spectrum band for the deployment of a TD-LTE network that will ultimately complement the frequency division duplex LTE (FD-LTE) network in the 1800MHz spectrum.

Optus’ managing director of networks Günther Ottendorfer announced this morning that Optus will launch its first TD-LTE network in Canberra in March or April next year.

The lack of an 1800MHz 4G network in Australia’s capital will offer some challenges to Optus when it launches the 2.3GHz 4G network, as many of the 4G devices in the market, such as the iPhone 5, will not be compatible with the new network, and customers outside of 1800MHz areas will be left on 3G in Canberra.

The company also plans to launch 4G in Adelaide in the first half of 2013, to add to the existing sites in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, and Newcastle.

In Brisbane, Optus plans to increase its 4G coverage from 50 sites to 100 by the end of 2013, and will extend the coverage to other parts of metropolitan Queensland, along with Wollongong on the New South Wales south coast, in the next year.

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