Optus has promised to have 70% of Australia’s metropolitan population covered with 4G by the middle of 2014, challenging Telstra in the race to sign up consumers keen for high speed data.
Optus has begun testing a variant of the 4G network known as the ‘time-division long-term evolution’ (TD-LTE) network, were data uploads and downloads can occur on the same frequency, but at different times. Optus suggest that this version of 4G is more flexible and better able to cater for large downloads such as streaming video. This network will be first trialed in Canberra, at 12 different sites, with an increase to 20 base stations in the coming months.
Telstra on the other hand, will extend its 4G (FD-LTE) network to around two thirds of Australia by the end of June. Telstra are well ahead of the game, having already 2 million 4G devices connected to its network. Optus has a total customer base of 9.95 million, compared with Telstra’s 14.4 million.