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Optus expands 4G, switching on 200 new regional locations

Optus is focusing on regional Australia with its latest network expansion, promising faster mobile data speeds in 200 new locations in the next 6 months.


Optus has announced a roadmap for the rollout of 4G coverage across Australia, with more than 200 regional locations slated to gain access by April 2015 -- some of them for the first time, according to the telco.

The expansion comes off the back of new spectrum acquisitions for Optus, with the 2,600MHz and 700MHz spectrums to become available from October 2014 and January 2015 respectively -- Western Australia falls slightly outside this roadmap, with access to the 2,600MHz spectrum due to come in February 2016. Optus says this will bring 4G connectivity to 90 percent of the Australian population by April 2015.

The announcement follows news from Vodafone today announcing the launch of a new 4G network in Adelaide and surrounding suburbs, utilising the 850MHz spectrum. Vodafone also confirmed a plan to reach 95 percent of Australia's metropolitan -- rather than total -- population by the end of this year.

Optus is eschewing the capital cities in favour of regional hubs, "holiday destinations" and "wine regions" -- Ballarat, Cairns, Port Macquarie and Port Augusta have already gained access to the new 2,600MHz spectrum, while a further 30 locations are due to be connected next week. The telco also confirmed that, "once available", it would be using the 700MHz spectrum to improve 4G coverage across Australia.

According to Optus, "a large number of mobile phones already support 2,600MHz spectrum, including the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, Samsung Galaxy SIII 4G, Samsung Galaxy S4 and Sony Xperia Z2". In addition, 700MHz-compatible devices include the Samsung Galaxy S5, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, LG G3 and HTC One (M8).

As the network expands, Optus will be tagging devices with a "4G in more places" symbol, both online and in stores, to indicate compatibility with the expanded 4G network. The telco has also released a full list of the new 4G-connected regions on its website.