I'd wondered earlier in the week what was happening with Optus' April 2012 4G rollout, and was told things were still on track. Optus has just announced the official switch-on, which for launch focuses on 4G wireless dongles.
There's no exact word on pricing in the release, but that's apparently because Optus will at first be seeding out test units to users in the region — and you can't sign up for that because Optus has apparently already picked its 4G trial customers. (Some of them might overlap with the areas covered by Telstra's attempted spoiler announcement earlier this week.)
Update: Here's the coverage map: click for a larger version.
And here's the full text from the press release:
Optus today announced the first switch-on of its 4G network coverage, with over a thousand business and residential customers receiving 4G service and devices from next week. Optus’ 4G network has been activated for select customers across Greater Newcastle, as well as in Port Stephens, the Hunter Valley and Lake Macquarie areas. As part of its commitment to becoming the leader in 4G, Optus is initially offering these 4G services to select customers for free, in exchange for their feedback on network performance and device capability. This is ahead of Optus’ 4G capital city network rollout, which will see 4G services delivered to Sydney, Melbourne and Perth from mid-2012. Phase two of the rollout will see an expansion of 4G services to Brisbane and Adelaide from the first half of next year. “Our focus for 4G is to deliver the best experience to our customers. The rollout of our 4G network in Newcastle means 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,” Günther Ottendorfer, Optus Managing Director Networks said. “We are also excited about the new opportunities that 4G will provide to our business customers. They will be able to send and receive large files much quicker, or collaborate with their colleagues via video or web conferencing. “Today marks the first step towards Australians having a choice for 4G services so they can connect and interact in new ways. By working with our customers to gather their feedback, Optus aims to continually enhance its 4G network and ensure that customers have an outstanding experience now, and into the future,” Mr Ottendorfer said. Customers will initially be allocated Optus 4G wireless dongles, with business customers also receiving mobile Wi-Fi adapters. 4G compatible handsets will be available to Optus customers over the coming months.