Optus is riding a big wave. A 4G wave.

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That’s according to the network’s boss, Guenther Ottendorfer, who today admitted surfing the new 4G network “was the main ride we had this year.”

Getting the 4G LTE service up and running was an “incredible race” as telco No. 2 played catch up to Telstra, whose LTE network is well over a year old with several hundred thousand users.

Optus finally launched its 4G LTE network in Newcastle and the Hunter region in April and has blitzed all metro cities in select areas, and claims to have the largest coverage of any telco in Perth.

But still this does not get away from the fact rivals Telstra have a far bigger coverage (around 40% of the population) and hope to blitz over 1,000 sites in all, by early next year.

Telstra’s typical 4G download speeds are 2Mbps – 40Mbps, uploads of 1Mbps – 10Mbps, while Optus says its 4G TD LTE network has typical download speeds from 25Mbps – 87Mbps.

Optus’ Managing Director of Networks, Ottendorfer, claims Optus is getting “positive” feedback from 4G customers, adding it will “continue to improve” service.

Ottendorfer also confirmed Canberra and Adelaide will be privy to a faster 4G network in the first half of next year, although would not be tied down to a precise timeframe. He is “hopeful” Adelaide’s 4G rollout will accelerate in 2013, and currently working on the Canberra project.

The Canberra 4G service will also be different from Optus’ other services elsewhere as it will operate on TD LTE, or Time-Division Long-Term Evolution, which allocates separate channels for outgoing and incoming signals, used widely  by Chinese telcos like Huawei and Nokia.

Currently Optus 4G runs on a FDD-LTE system but is getting set for is set for a major national 4G TD-LTE network roll out next year.

Currently it has 50 LTE sites in Brisbane and says it will upping this in the Qld capital to 130 next year.

But hold on, what about us plebs still on 3G?

The telco said today it is continuing to deliver improvements on the “workhorse” that is 3G +, a service that is “still used by the majority” Ottendorfer said.


Optus is currently “refarming” its 3G network and going deep into metro areas, basically meaning improved calls and data quality for indoor users.

Indoor quality is now improved by 74-87%, and will improve beyond this next year, he said.

In 2013, this 3G+ upgrade will extend to other areas including Queensland and Wollongong. Optus has integrated over 400 sites in Sydney and 3000 nationwide since the project began last year.

In fact, Optus’ modernisation of 3G plus is “one of the biggest refarming project in the world,” Ottendorfer said. 

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