If you live in Darwin or Perth, you have a reason to look down on everyone from the East: as of now, those capitals' CBDs have newly improved Optus 4G coverage as a pilot of Australia's second largest telco's rollout of its recently acquired 700MHz mobile network spectrum.
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Up until today, Optus didn't have any 4G coverage in Darwin, but the pilot program sees both Darwin and Perth's CBDs hooked up with the new spectrum as part of an ACMA-approved commercial pilot before Optus's wider network release in January next year. Telstra is doing exactly the same across six trial sites, claiming potential download speeds of 220-225Mbps.
The two 10MHz chunks of 700MHz spectrum cost Optus $650 million in 2013 as part of the Digital Dividend auction, where TPG and Telstra also bought up big. 700MHz has the potential for long-range geographical coverage, which should contribute to Optus's stated attempts to cover 90 per cent of the Australian population with 4G coverage by March next year.
The 700MHz spectrum has several advantages including more pervasive in-building coverage, where it is able to penetrate further than Optus's existing 1800MHz and 2300MHz spectrum allocation. To use the new network, though, residents must have a compatible device — at the moment generally restricted to high-end smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S5, the HTC One (M8) and LG G3. [Optus]