Optus has today launched 4G services for business customers in Sydney and Perth, with Melbourne to follow shortly.
The new Optus network in Sydney boasts a coverage radius of approximately 10km around the CBD. In Perth, coverage extends 20km west to east, and 15km north to south.
Business customers in these two major metro areas can take advantage of the network's faster data speeds via two new mobile broadband modems: a single-user USB modem and a Wi-Fi hotspot model, with access for up to five users simultaneously.
Interested parties will need an ABN to apply for this first round of 4G services, although Optus did promise a broad consumer 4G release soon, and hinted at a wider portfolio of products that may include 4G smartphones and tablets.
The launches in Sydney and Perth follow a successful trial of Optus 4G in Newcastle. The trial began in April this year, and saw customers enjoy peak download speeds of up to 60Mbps, according to the telco. Trial services will soon end in Newcastle, but the network will remain. Optus intends to offer Newcastle trial participants the opportunity to continue using 4G, though this will require them to change the modems that they have been using to the new hardware being sold in Sydney and Perth.
Optus has also been re-farming parts of its network using the 900MHz spectrum, converting the signal from 2G to 3G. Commercially, it is calling this upgrade 3G Plus, and it claims to have significantly improved indoor coverage in the areas where this roll-out has been completed; again, in Sydney and Perth. A similar upgrade is in process in Melbourne, and should be completed by the middle of August.
Optus now estimates that its Open Network covers 97.7 per cent of the Australian population.