Optus Launches 700Mhz 4G LTE

It's the 1st of January -- happy new year -- and with it, the 700Mhz spectrum that used to be used for analogue TV broadcasts is now open for carriers to utilise. Optus has announced the rollout of more than 270 700Mhz sites across Australia.

Optus' official release doesn't give precise details on the sites that have gone live today, although it should include some of the sites that it tipped as getting 4G "soon" last month.

Optus' release quotes David Epstein, Vice President, Corporate and Regulatory Affairs at Optus stating that "We are improving our 4G network today with 700MHz in parts of the Sydney CBD, Chatswood and Eastern Suburbs; Brisbane CBD, the Gold and Sunshine Coasts; Adelaide CBD, Melbourne CBD, Geelong, Frankston and Mornington Peninsula; plus Hobart CBD, Perth CBD, Claremont and Cottlesloe. Whether you are in Armidale or Sydney in New South Wales, Townsville or Brisbane in Queensland, Ceduna or Adelaide in South Australia, or Wangaratta or Melbourne in Victoria, with the right device Optus 4G will have you covered as our network expands"

That right device part is quite critical, as to date only a small fraction of the smartphones and devices on sale in Australia support 700Mhz frequencies, including heavy hitters such as the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, HTC One (M8), Sony Xperia Z3 and Samsung Galaxy S5. While Telstra's opting for "4GX" branding for its 700Mhz LTE, Optus will instead use "4G in more places" as its branding for 700Mhz compatible devices.

Optus' plan is to have more than 1500 700MHz sites live by the end of the month. It's not the only telco to have bid on 700Mhz spectrum, so expect similar announcements from Telstra and possibly TPG quite soon as well.



    Last week I tested an optus pre paid card and huawei 5867 in Canberra and with 4g indicated and 2 bars signal strength the BEST speedtest.net showed 14 down and 10 up. Not quite 300 theoretically possible but better than 1.5 on adsl being 3km from exchange at McKellar, Act.

      Optus 700mhtz is a stand alone 4G network. Unlike Telstras 700mhtz 4G which has 20mhtz of spectrum which they arecarrier aggregating with the 1800mhtz which also has 20nhtz to make 300mbps, Optus only has 10mhtz to create a max speed of 75mbps.

    Heh, I pretty much only understood "is", "a", "stand", "alone" and "has" in that post.

      Yeah it wasn't great English. But basically Optus' 700mhtz 4G network is not being 'glued' together with another other of their 4G networks. Optus' new network will only deliver more coverage but the same speed as their current 1800mhtz 4G network. Telstra because they have bourght more spectrum (double) means they can 'glue' it together with their current 1800mhtz 4G networks creating a theoretical peak speed of 300mbps, where optus has two independent networks with a peak speed of 75mbps

        Hi Christopher, not quite right.
        Optus has one tranche of 20Mhz Bandwidth in 700 Band.
        Telstra has 2 of them (enabling bonding for 40MHz of bandwidth.
        both Telco's can support "band aggregation" by a suitably capable 4GG (my generic term) device, where a connection in the 700M Band is 'bonded' with a connection in one of the other bands... and bonding can be between any two higher bands too. This capability to 'bond' connections must also be supported by the device you use and it has to be in a cell with both. You'll see commentary about Category 4 devices and Category 6 devices. Both Cat 4 and Cat 6 devices usually have multiband 4G radios inside to access the network bands. Presently only Cat 6 devices can band-bond. And I sympathise with par3000; there is going to be plenty of confusion out there in this... buyers just need to take their time and ensure they get info they can trust. Why band-bond? Lower frequency Bands deliver great inbuilding penetration and OK bandwidth, Higher Bands can have higher tower density for more users in a given area. Bonding lets you enjoy more of both and get more, more often more reliably, especially as you get near the egde of the viable coverage delivered by one of the bands your connecting to at the time.

          Ah well yes I meant 10mhtz one for download one for upload for 20mhtz total as Telstra has 20mhtz one for upload and one for download for a total of 40mhtz. I don't see what Optus can do with the 700mhtz it bought in terms of carrier aggregation it bought cause it only has 15mhtz of 1800mhtz even in capital cities which would not be the most efficient as it would not be true Category 6

          Optus:30mhtz, (1800mhtz)+20mhtz, (700mhtz)

          125mbps max theoretical speed

          It seems the only proper carrier aggregation they can do is with the huge chunk of 2.3GHZ TD-LTE network.

    Is the any indication on the handset that it is using 4G at 700mghz?

      Look up the specifications for the handset. Most phone sites and manufacturer websites will list the "band numbers", and not the frequencies.

      This is important for 4G because there are many different 700MHz bands around the world that are not compatible with each other. In Asia & the Pacific we use Band 28.

      To get the best possible 4G speeds and reception on Optus, your device should have bands: 1, 3, 7, 28 and 40. (being 2100, 1800, 2600, 700 and 2300MHz respectively)

      To get the best speeds and reception on Telstra, your device should have 4G on bands: 1, 3, 7, 8, and 28. (being 2100, 1800, 2600, 900 and 700)

      To get the best speeds and reception on Vodafone, your device should have 4G on bands: 1, 3, and 5. (being 2100, 1800, and 850MHz)

      For Optus & Telstra, bands 3 & 28 are the most important. For Vodafone bands 3 & 5 are the most important.

      If you actually meant: how can I tell what band i'm connected to? Well the answer is different for every phone model. You would have to go to an "engineering menu" or "field test" mode. The instructions are only commonly known for Apple, Samsung, Blackberry and LG. (see here: http://whirlpool.net.au/wiki/mobile_phone_frequencies)

      On a Samsung phone you can look up the band you are using by dialling *#0011#

      On a iphone:
      Dial *3001#12345#*
      This will enter field test mode.
      Tap 'Serving Cell Info', and 'Freq Band Indicator' will tell you what LTE band you're connected to. i.e 3

      Last edited 02/01/15 9:17 am

        wow thankyou for such an informative post! I did actually mean how can tell what frequency my phone is currently connected to, but the different carrier frequencies was useful too.

    You forgot the only lowcost prepaid phone that supports the 4G 700Mhz Frequency as rolled out by Optus and Telstra, that is the Alcatel POP S3 for $149.

    I'm pretty sure the LG G3 will support the 700Mhz band as well so perhaps a mention might be worth it as it's a very good phone.

    I've read through several of the articles on Giz regarding 700Mhz 4G and 4GX and I had a question for the Gurus:
    The iPad 3 supports 4G LTE on 700 Mhz (http://support.apple.com/kb/SP647).
    Any ideas if it will support Optus (or Telstra's) 4G network given that at least on paper it will work in that spectrum?
    Do I have to do anything to make it jump onto the new network? (other than be in a coverage area)

    Thanks in advance

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