Optus is gearing up to woo business travellers with its new 4G mobile broadband network in Sydney and Perth, with Melbourne coming on board from September 15.
Officially launched at the end of July but restricted to business customers, the 4G network is now available to anybody with the need for more speed than conventional 3G wireless – provided you’re within the 4G coverage area.
In Sydney that means roughly north to Dee Why, arcing west through Eastwood to Homebush Bay, then south through Canterbury, Botany and the airport.
In Perth the 4G signal spans from Perth Airport in the east to the city’s coast, reaching north to Sterling and Embleton and south to Dalkeith and Como.
Also live is Newcastle, where Optus first trialled 4G technology earlier this year.
Once Melbourne comes online this month the 4G footprint is a well-centred splat to Brighton Beach, up to Doncaster, around to Broadmeadows, then enveloping Tullamarine, Albion and Wiiliamstown.
(It’s also worth noting that Optus considers those maps as denoting ‘on street coverage’ – once you step inside a building, you’re officially on your own.)
Outside of those areas, as well as in those unavoidable network coverage ‘black spots’ where there’s a very low signal or indeed no signal, your 4G modem will fall back onto Optus’ 3G network.
Optus says that Adelaide, Brisbane and Wollongong will join the 4G party “over the next 12 months”.
So how much will Optus’ 4G kit cost?
Plans start at $40 per month over two years for a USB 4G dongle with 10GB of data; $60 gets you 15GB, while $80 lands you 20GB.
For an extra $2 per month you get the more flexible 4G Wi-Fi modem, which lets you share the 4G signal between as many as five laptops, tablets or smartphones.
Later this month Optus will debut its first 4G smartphone – Samsung’s 4.8 inch Galaxy S III 4G – from $67 per month with 1.5GB of data and $650 of talk and text.
More to the point, how fast is Optus 4G?
Early tests indicate a rocketing 30Mbps for downloads and 20Mbps for uploads, which is on par with what we’ve experienced on the competing Telstra 4G network.
That rapid clip should of course taper off as Optus signs up more users, but there’s hopefully plenty of headroom to cope with such growth.
For all the details on Optus 4G, click through to optus.com.au/4G.
Telstra boosts 4G reach
Meanwhile, Telstra plans to more than double its 4G coverage area in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth with the installation of over 1,000 new 4G base stations through to the middle of next year.
The Big T claims that once all new sites are live its 4G service will reach approximately 66 per cent of the Australian population – up from today’s 40 per cent – stretching out in a 10-15 kilometre radius from the Sydney GPO and a 15-20 kilometre radius from the Melbourne GPO.
Here’s the official word on where the enhanced 4G signals will fly.
Brisbane: from Brisbane Airport in the East to Indooroopilly in the West and from Coopers Plains in the South to Chermside in the North.
Gold Coast: from Surfers Paradise in the East to Nerang in the West and from Tugun in the South to Hope Island in the North.
Sydney: from Manly in the East to Greystanes in the West and from Kogarah in the South to Hornsby in the North.
Canberra: from Queanbeyan in the East to Duffy in the West and from Farrer in the South to Moncrieff in the North.
Melbourne: from Ringwood in the East to Werribee in the West and from Bentleigh in the South to Epping in the North.
Adelaide: from Magill in the East to Henley Beach in the West and from Torrens Park in the South to Broadview in the North.
Perth: from Maida Vale in the East to Fremantle in the West and from Willetton in the South to Dianella in the North.
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About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.