Australian wireless operators Optus Mobile and Vodafone Australia have both launched 3G services over their shared W-CDMA network in Adelaide and Perth. Optus launched in the cities last week, with its network partner Vodafone following yesterday. Currently 3G services are available in the Adelaide and Perth central business districts and some surrounding areas. Full metropolitan area coverage is expected by October 2006. The shared network currently extends to selected areas of Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and the pair say that the rollout of regional W-CDMA networks will commence in 2007.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Optus and Vodafone signed a 3G network sharing deal in November 2004, under the terms of which they will share over 2,000 base stations but will also build separate networks in certain areas of the country. They began building the W-CDMA network in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra in early 2005. Optus launched a limited 3G service over the network in Canberra on 27 April 2005, initially to business customers and government agencies, with residential services following shortly afterwards. Vodafone launched 3G services over the joint network on 31 October 2005 in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra metropolitan areas, having contracted Nokia as its 3G vendor in May 2004.