Optus launches 4G in Newcastle, ahead of capital cities roll out from mid-2012

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Optus’ awaited 4G network is taking shape, with the telco announcing that it will start 4G coverage in the Newcastle and Hunter Valley regions from next week. This announcement comes after Telstra’s announcement that it will be expanding its 4G network to the region.

According to its media release, Optus will be offering these services for free to its customers residing in the areas. They will be used to provide feedback on the network’s performance and how will the devices work with Optus’ LTE network. Customers will be given 4G wireless dongles, while business customers will be getting mobile Wi-Fi adapters.

Following up from Newcastle will be the launch of 4G services in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth – using the spectrum bought by vividwireless (from Seven) in the middle of the year. The first half of next year will see services expand to Brisbane and Adelaide. As previously mentioned, Optus will be changing vividwireless’ 4G network from Wi-Max to LTE.

Newcastle’s 4G network will be on the 1800MHz spectrum band – which is also what Telstra is using for its own 4G network. Optus also owns the 2.3GHz and 700MHz bands in some areas as part of its acquisition of vividwireless.

As of now, Optus has no announced devices to run on the 4G network. Telstra already has a few, including a 4G version of the Samsung Galaxy S II and the HTC Velocity 4G. It is also rumoured to get the HTC Titan II, the first Windows Phone on 4G. Optus could potentially get some phones from HTC and Samsung – but more likely ZTE.

Speeds have also not been confirmed by Optus, only saying that the network would mean “customers can do more of the things they love; whether that’s uploading photos to Facebook more quickly, watching videos on YouTube and Vimeo, or streaming their favourite podcasts while on the move” – according to Gunther Ottendorfer, Optus Managing Director Networks said.

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