Australian mobile network operator (MNO) Optus has announced plans to commence a network technology refresh from April 2022, with the cellco revealing its intention to refarm its 2100MHz spectrum assets.
Outlining the plans in a press release, the MNO said that some of its 2100MHz spectrum assets currently used to provide 3G connectivity will be reallocated to ‘provide a better 4G network experience as well as support the growth of 5G’. According to Optus, after April 2022 it will no longer offer a dual-band 3G network, instead offering 3G services solely using frequencies at 900MHz. As such, it has advised that customers with a 2100MHz-only 3G device will need to upgrade their handset to have 4G LTE capability to access the Optus network, while adding that Optus Wholesale service provider customers using the 2100MHz network will also be similarly affected.
The company aims to commence customer-specific communications to those impacted by the change over the coming months, including contacting customers that may have very old SIM cards to assist with an upgrade if required.
Commenting on the plans, Lambo Kanagaratnam, Optus Managing Director Networks, was cited as saying: ‘It’s important that our spectrum assets are working well for customers, enabling them to truly benefit from innovative and emerging technologies on our world class networks as they move to new and more advanced 4G and 5G devices … We know that our customers are using more data than ever. They’re downloading, sharing and streaming content, using apps and connecting with friends and colleagues virtually. In order to support this thirst for connectivity it’s vital that we evolve our network and redeploying our 2100MHz spectrum assets to better accommodate next generation technologies is an important step in achieving this.’