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.