Following trials of the technology that got underway in May this year, Australian cellco Optus is reportedly set to launch commercial services over a Time Division Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE) network, according to The Age. It is understood that around 22 TD-LTE-enabled sites will be switched on today in Melbourne, along with 33 sites across Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. While Optus has not detailed its rollout plans for the new infrastructure specifically, Mr Epstein did note that between its TD-LTE and FD-LTE rollouts it aims to cover 70% of the metropolitan population by mid-2014.
Commenting on the reasoning behind deploying the technology, David Epstein, Optus’ vice-president of regulatory and corporate affairs, was cited as saying: ‘For data in particular, when you are in peak areas at peak usage times [having two networks] ensures your data speeds and connections are more consistent … this is really about focusing our network on where the growth is, and that [growth] is in data.’
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, having previously only rolled out 4G services using Frequency Division LTE (FD-LTE) technology over the 1800MHz band, in June 2013 Optus announced that its first commercial TD-LTE infrastructure – operating in the 2300MHz band – had gone live in Canberra. Claiming at the time that TD-LTE ‘open(s) up the possibility to deliver even faster speeds in the future’, the cellco noted that customers would need compatible devices, to which end it introduced its first two 4G dual-band compatible devices in the form a USB dongle and a Wi-Fi modem. At launch Optus activated 13 TDD-LTE sites in the nation’s capital, giving it coverage of ‘selected parts of the city’. Looking ahead, Optus said that would expand to more than 50 sites during the second half of 2013.