Optus will be upping the top speed of its network using 4G LTE technology so it can compete with Telstra and its dominating Next G network.
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Currently sitting in second place, Optus announced it will launch commercial Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology using its existing 1800MHz spectrum band. Optus expects the network to go live in regional areas in April 2012.
“As regulators across Asia-Pacific continue to grapple with the allocation of new spectrum bands at 700MHz and 2600MHz for LTE, a large number of operators in the region with immediate LTE plans have no choice but to use the 1800MHz band for LTE,” said an Ovum analyst, Nicole McCormick.
For the network upgrade Optus is considering using experienced Huawei, who also replaced and upgraded the network components of Vodafone’s crippled network.
They’ll be undergoing a trial in Victoria where the performance of potential 700MHz spectrum band will be assessed as it’s believed to deliver more consistent internet coverage indoors.
“As the global leader in LTE network deployments, Huawei is confident that this trial with Optus will demonstrate the incredible potential of LTE in the 700MHz band,” said Huawei Australia CTO Peter Rossi.
“Huawei and Optus have been working together since Huawei first opened an Australian office in 2004, and this is the latest step in our strong partnership.”
The trial marks the first occasion out-dated analogue TV frequency will be used for LTE services and applications in Australia.
So far frontrunner Telstra is the only network with a 4G LTE network in Australia, while Vodafone intend on incorporating the technology in its network upgrade.
Optus’ battle against Telstra will be uphill though, with Telstra claiming its wireless network can exceed 48Mbs on capable devices, the company boasting its network is the fastest wireless network in Australia.
Using 20MHz of spectrum, Telstra was able to reach speeds of up to 149Mbs for downloads and 59Mbps for uploads in its Melbourne trial last year. By comparison, most mobile operators, such as Vodafone, produce a theoretical download speed of 7.2Mbs.
With 4G LTE technology picking up pace in Australia, the number of compatible devices is sure to increase, delivering faster internet to more Australians.
Ovum predicts the number of LTE mobile broadband connections used in the Asia-Pacific region will hit 19% by the end of 2016.