Australia’s first 4G wireless network will begin rolling out across capital cities within a year, according to Seven Network director Ryan Stokes.
The network run by Seven's subsidiary, VividWireless will hit Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Hobart within 12 months of its March launch debut in Perth.
Speaking at the Communication Alliance's Broadband and Beyond conference in Sydney, Stokes defended bestowing the 4G moniker on the wireless service, saying its service is comparable to a North American 4G service from Clearwire.
The company has deployed 150 wireless sites across Perth, which Stokes said provided good coverage according to results by driving performance tests. He said the city was chosen for first deployment because it is not saturated with broadband, and houses the country’s most loyal Seven Network audiences.
He said fixed and wireless broadband technologies are not competing, but noted 3G spectrum – used by Seven-owned Internet Service Provider Unwired – is running out of bandwidth from a continual high uptake in mobile data-intensive devices like the iPhone.
NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley, also speaking at the conference, said America is deploying mobile cells linked by fixed fibre to deal with capacity shortfalls.
“The US has hit a peak, and is deploying new cell sites, connected with fibre. [To this] end, we have to put either put in fibre to lots and lots of cell sites or fibre to the premise,”” Quigley said.
The VividWireless network was first announced in September last year following news that Adelaide will get a $3 million WiMax mobile broadband network.
Unwired Australia will use the company’s Horizon Compact for backhaul connectivity of up to 200Mbps between about 150 wireless base stations around Perth, under a multi-year exclusive supply agreement with DragonWave.
Unwired Australia is helping build and operate the VividWireless network, which is scheduled to launch in March 2010.
The 4G-based service will introduce wireless consumer Internet services peaking at more than 20Mbps. Customers using the service on a laptop will gain average speeds of more than 4Mbps and peak speeds in excess of 20Mbps — up to 10 times faster than those delivered by the existing 3G networks, according to Vivid. Hardware vendor, Huawai, will supply the 4G network equipment.