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Optus and Vodafone continue rollout of new 4G services

Vodafone names its LTE-A network 4G+ and switches on in Melbourne, while Optus gets early access licence approval to begin rollout on its 700MHz service.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Both Vodafone and Optus have taken the next step in enhancing their respective 4G offerings, turning on services in new spectra in a variety of regional and urban areas.

Vodafone is terming its service 4G+, harkening back to Telstra's 4GX name. Vodafone's 4G+ uses the 850MHz band, a low-frequency band that offers better indoor and underground coverage in the same manner as Telstra's 700MHz. Combined with Vodafone's existing 1,800MHz spectrum, it allows for carrier aggregation on compatible devices.

Vodafone's initial rollout is in Melbourne, with the company announcing that 678 sites in Victoria are live as of today, with a further 71 following in the next six weeks. Adelaide was the first city to get the service back in October.

Optus meanwhile has its 2,600MHz online in 40 different regional areas across NSW, Queensland, SA and Victoria, including Dubbo, Bendigo, Goulburn and Wagga Wagga.

Optus has also been granted early access licence approvals from the Australian Communications and Media Authority to begin operating its 700MHz service in 200 regional locations.

Optus Networks Managing Director, Vic McClelland said the carrier would concentrate on "regional and holiday locations" with the early rollout.

"The 700MHz spectrum is due to become nationally available from January 2015, however, with ACMA approving early access, we will look to provide customers with compatible devices a taste of 4G as quickly as possible," said McClelland in a media statement.

A number of 700MHz-compatible devices are available, such as the iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy S5, Sony Xperia Z3 and more. Devices capable of using LTE-A carrier aggregation include the Samsung Note 4 and the newly launched Huawei Mate 7 .