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Optus confirms technology and vendor choice for national 3G roll out PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 13 December 2007

Optus confirmed today the technology and vendors it will work with to deliver a robust and competitive national 3G/High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) network.

Optus will use a combination of 900 megahertz (MHz) and 2100MHz frequency ranges to complete the network, and has appointed vendors Huawei and Nokia Siemens Networks for the completion of the roll out.

When complete, the network will cover 96 percent of the population, replicating the coverage of Optus' existing 2G network which covers over 650,000 square kilometres.  The 900MHz range will be used primarily in rural and regional Australia.

"Today's announcement is solid evidence of Optus' ongoing investment in mobile, our focus on driving innovation in the 3G market and our commitment to providing real competition and choice," Mr Paul O'Sullivan, Optus Chief Executive said.

"Through our national deployment, more Australians will have access to a competitive, high quality, high speed network and will be able to choose from our array of product plans and flexible pricing.

"The roll out is on track - we have upgraded our network in all capital cities to 3G/HSPA and the first phase of the extended upgrade is already complete, with areas in Newcastle and Wollongong in service today.

"Our 3G/HSPA network currently reaches 60 percent of the population, will reach around 80 percent of the population by June 2008 and is set for completion by December 2008 - 18 months ahead of schedule."

Mr O'Sullivan said Optus had adopted a multi vendor strategy for mobile network deployments to drive better competitive and technical outcomes.

"As a result, we have awarded Huawei and Nokia Siemens Networks to deliver the radio network infrastructure required for this extensive roll out," he said.

Optus customers using the 3G/HSPA network will have access to improved speeds, of up to 3.6Mbps*, on Optus Wireless Broadband modems and enabled mobile phones.  They will see significant improvement in time to download and upload videos, music, maps and user generated content on their laptops and phones.

"The 900MHz range for 3G/HSPA is perfectly suited to the Australian landscape. Using this frequency, radio signals have a greater range – giving better quality and wider coverage across sparsely populated rural and remote areas as well as an enhanced depth of coverage.

"The greater breadth of coverage generated by a 900MHz 3G/HSPA base station makes it better able to cater to areas that until now have had limited choice and limited network access.  This also translates into cost efficiencies as fewer base stations are required to cover the land mass between locations.

"3G/HSPA network operators around the world are increasingly shifting to the 900 MHz frequency range, meaning that handsets and network equipment will be produced in high volume in this configuration, leading to cost efficiencies and bringing value to rural and regional Australia.

"Additionally, the use of 900MHz and 2100MHz for 3G/HSPA will give the network greater alignment with other mobile markets, as many European and Asia Pacific countries are currently either considering, or are already using, the technology.  The two frequencies will inter-operate seamlessly," Mr O'Sullivan said.

The combination of 900MHz and 2100MHz will lead to network rollout costs of up to A$500 million instead of up to A$800 million if built entirely at 2100MHz.  The build will be funded out of Optus' normal annual investment program.

Optus will continue to co-locate its existing 2100MHz 3G network in metropolitan Australia in a joint venture with Vodafone.

As at 30 September 2007, Optus had 868,000 3G subscribers.


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