Optus on Thursday said it had completed its five-year national 3G network improvement program, upgrading more than 4400 mobile sites which it claimed provides better indoor coverage and call quality.
“Over the course of the program, we’ve upgraded the bulk of our 3G network with 900MHz spectrum to create more capacity and coverage, raising our metro 3G indoors coverage from 70 per cent to 94 per cent over the last two years,” claimed Andrew Smith, VP of mobile engineering at Optus.
Optus’ 3G 900MHz upgrade program was completed with the refresh of 70 sites in Canberra this month.
Smith said there are 9.5 million customers using Optus’ 3G network and the telco would soon roll out more than 100 new mobile sites. These will include upgraded 3G and superfast 4G services across major metropolitan and regional areas.
The telco is preparing its network for when it gains access to the 700MHz spectrum band after being granted licenses to in Sydney to begin testing. This follows its first 700MHz data call trial in Bendigo, Victoria in March last year.
Optus has also been granted Australia’s first outdoor metro trial licences for 4G in the 2600MHz band.
“These new trial licenses enable Optus to start live testing the next evolution of our 4G network, due to launch commercially at the end of this year for 2600MHz and early next year for 700MHz,” Smith said.
“We’ll be testing the compatibility of the new spectrum with the latest devices and also with television broadcasters.”
Meanwhile, mobile competitor Vodafone said its customers are “returning in droves” with more than one million users on its 4G network since it was launched last June.
“As much as some detractors joke about Vodafone’s well-known network issues in 2010, the fact is in 2014, Vodafone’s networks, both 3G and 4G, are offering consistent, fast, reliable data speeds right around the country,” said Vodafone CMO Kim Clarke.
The telco claims it is offering data speeds and inclusions that are unmatched by Telstra and Optus. For new customers at the $60 price point, Vodafone includes 1.5GB of data, 50 per cent more than Telstra or Optus (both with 1GB), the telco claimed.