Optus launches 1Gbps 4.5G network in Sydney's north-west

Remigio Civitarese
Febbraio 22, 2017

This morning the telco switched on 4.5G network services across the Macquarie Park business district, in Sydney, home of Optus' headquarters. It's about capacity and performance, which is improved between 2-4 times, according to Optus networks managing director Dennis Wong at the launch event.

The network uses 4CC/5CC carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO and 256QAM technology.

Wong said Optus was pushing towards 5G as part of its evolving entertainment strategy, that has already seen the company move into mobile sports broadcasting, with a number of sport interest licences held.

Another thing to consider is only newer devices that support 4.5G will be able to enjoy a significant speed boost. It also gives Optus a live test area for these new higher speed technologies.

Optus said it will continue testing and moving from 4G towards a "4.5G" mobile network before the arrival of 5G in 2020.

The plan is to rollout 4.5G in selected capital cities in the next 12 months; 4.5G is expected to reach over 70% of the Optus network in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

Australia-wide, Telstra remains in the No. 1 spot, however, with 43.6 percent of the nation's 18.8 million mobile owners. If you're an Optus customer who has a device that's "capable" of 100mbps, but you're getting 20mbps more regularly, the hope is your speeds will double or triple - many devices today are capable of 150mbps speeds, so this new upgrade and capacity should result in great new speeds for even existing handsets.

Optus a year ago also signed an MOU with networking giant Nokia to collaborate on developing its 5G network, under which it has undertaken closed lab tests using Nokia's 5G radio test bed on its Airscale product, as well as narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) tests. The company is continuing to look at using and acquiring spectrum. The 3.5GHz spectrum has been harmonised as a 5G band and Optus has 90MHz of this.

Optus will also be starting trials of its massive MIMO 128T128R base station antenna technology which will significantly bolster speeds and provide around eight times more capacity, according to the telco.

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