Australian mobile network operator Optus has announced that it has concluded a trial of 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology over the 700MHz band in Bendigo, according to Gizmodo. The cellco is reported to have achieved downlink speeds of up to 70Mbps and transmission distances of 13km using the frequency/technology combination, during the trials. Commenting on the the operator’s findings, Optus’ network head Gunther Ottendorfer noted: ‘The trial concluded that 4G services using the 700MHz frequency have the real potential to offer a better experience for customers with peak download speeds reaching 70Mbps and upload speeds of 32Mpbs — significantly faster than existing 4G networks. Importantly, Optus also demonstrated that 4G coverage delivered using 700MHz spectrum could be achieved over 13km from single tower compared to around 3-6kms using existing 4G 1800MHz spectrum. This is particularly important when deploying high speed mobile services across large distances for customers in regional Australia.’
As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, September 2011 saw Optus announce that it had become the first Australian carrier to be awarded a licence to trial LTE services in the 700MHz spectrum band, which had been freed up by the switchover to digital TV services. Subsequently, November 2011 saw the operator confirm the completion of its first successful data connection using LTE technology operating over the 700MHz band, having partnered with Huawei for the trials. While any commercial rollout of LTE using 700MHz spectrum is likely to be some time in coming – the auction of such frequencies is not due until November 2012 – it is pressing on with a 4G network rollout using the 1800MHz band, to which end earlier this week it was reported that Optus had selected Chinese vendor Huawei Technologies for the construction of a LTE-based network in Newcastle, New South Wales. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, under the terms of the deal it is understood that Huawei will deploy its SingleRAN equipment allowing the operation of 4G services over the 1800MHz band.