SingTel Optus, Australia’s second largest mobile network operator in terms of subscribers, has announced that it is to acquire local wireless broadband operator Vividwireless from current owner Seven Group. According to Delimiter, Optus will pay AUD230 million (USD246 million) for Vividwireless, with the former claiming that the move – which will give it access to up to 98MHz of frequencies in the 2.3GHz band – will allow it to roll out a new 4G mobile broadband network. With this new infrastructure expected to utilise Time Division Duplex Long Term Evolution (TDD-LTE) technology, Optus has said it hopes to offer downlink speeds of between 25Mbps and 87Mbps. The new 2.3GHz infrastructure, meanwhile, is expected to be integrated with the 1800MHz network that Optus aims to launch in Newcastle and the Hunter region of New South Wales in April 2012.
Under the terms of the purchase it is believed Optus will gain Vividwireless’ operating businesses, customers, spectrum licences and existing wireless broadband network. Further, it is understood that Optus will be required to pay around AUD50 million to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) as a fee for the reissue of the spectrum in question. For now, Vividwireless will continue providing services to its existing customer base, while those subscribers will subsequently be migrated to Optus’ planned LTE network as the rollout progresses. As far as the likely services that Optus will offer over the new 4G network, the report cites the company as saying: ‘Like all current 4G networks it will initially be a 4G data network but we expect a rich ecosystem to develop with a variety of devices like smartphones etc being available.’
Commenting on the development, Paul O’Sullivan, Optus’ CEO, added: ‘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.’