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Optus extends its 700 MHz and 2600 MHz 4G trials to Perth and Darwin

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Australia's Optus says that it has significantly ramped up planning for its national 4G rollout by extending its 4G trials in the 700MHz and 2600MHz spectrum bands to Perth and Darwin from next week.

Trial spectrum licences have been secured from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for Optus to conduct trials at 5 sites in Darwin and 6 sites in Perth. These licences allow Optus to conduct testing of the 700 MHz and 2600 MHz spectrum secured at the Digital Dividend auction before it becomes available for commercial use.

"This is a vital step in Optus getting ready for its national 4G launch in the 700 MHz and 2600 MHz bands," said Optus' Vice President of Mobile Radio Engineering, Andrew Smith.

"Optus will be able to test our full spectrum stack from 700 MHz to 2600 MHz in Darwin and Perth across a decent sized footprint. By doing this, we are getting ready to launch our greatly expanded national 4G network, deliver a faster and more consistent mobile broadband experience to more Optus customers across Australia, and also finally bring competition in 4G services across regional Australia," he said.

Most testing will be completed within the first few months of the trial, however there will be an ongoing need until the end of 2014 to test all new smartphones and other devices on these new spectrum bands before they are released for commercial sale.

The trials will be "closed" and not accessible to members of the public and Optus mobile customers will not be affected. Optus has worked closely with the ACMA, and the Australian Wireless Audio Group (AWAG) to minimise any potential impact during the trials on wireless audio devices, some of which still operate in the 700 MHz band.

Spectrum in the 700 MHz band becomes available for commercial mobile network use nationally from 1 January 2015. Spectrum in the 2600 MHz band becomes available from 1 October 2014 across most of Australia and from 1 February 2016 in Western Australia.

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Tags: optus  acma  Australia