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Optus Releases 4G Samsung Galaxy S III, 4G Consumer Plans [Update]

Optus has announced its new 4G offering for consumer customers, including the launch of its 4G network, a 4G dongle, portable Wi-Fi modem, and the long-awaited, 4G version of the Samsung Galaxy S III. Updated with official pricing and dates.

Hands-On: Samsung Galaxy S III Optus 4G

The 4G network was first teased in late July with the help of a dancing robot.

Optus’ 4G network is now live in Sydney, Newcastle and Perth, while folks in Melbourne will have to wait until September 15. As far as coverage is concerned, the network still covers the same range that was previewed back in July. Optus says that other cities would be switched on when 3G refarming operations were complete. As far as Brisbane and the Gold Coast goes, refarming operations will be complete around December with 4G to roll-out next year. Pre-paid services on Optus’ 4G network will be coming “shortly”.

Meanwhile, here’s the coverage map for Sydney:

And the coverage map for Perth:

Update: Optus 4G services will launch in Melbourne on September 15. Here’s the coverage map:

Optus used Newcastle as a trial site for 4G and issued Sierra Wireless devices to 900 businesses, individuals and home offices for testing. The company has since swapped out those test devices with 4G Wi-Fi hotspots made by Huawei, which Optus is claiming are some of the fastest in the world thanks to its “category 4″ device classification.

Optus has told us that vaunted 4G Galaxy S III will be exclusive on its network at launch. Pre-orders start today and the handsets will be delivered to customers in a few weeks due to initial stock shortages. Customers will also be able to access a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot from today.

UPDATE: Pre-orders for the Galaxy S III 4G are now being taken on Optus’ website and at Samsung’s Experience Store in Sydney. See the charts below for Optus’ pricing plans.

The Competition

As exciting as the launch of another 4G service is for consumers, Optus and Vodafone are both slightly behind the curve when it comes to 4G services.

Telstra announced consumer 4G services for major capital cities almost 12 months ago, and as recently as last week, the nation’s largest telco announced that it would increase the reach of its existing 4G coverage network, meaning that it will cover 66 per cent of the network by mid-2013.

Telstra will release 10 new 4G devices onto its network in the next 10 months, compared to Optus’ as yet unknown roadmap. Optus does have the enormous draw card of a 4G Samsung Galaxy S III on its network, however. Telstra will carry the device as well once Optus’ exclusivity period ends.

More: Australian 4G Frequencies Explained

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