Optus prepares to switch on 50 5G sites in Sydney and Melbourne
- 11 February, 2019 00:01
Optus today announced that it had switched on a new 5G site in Sydney’s north-west.
The site, in Kellyville, is one of 50 5G base stations Ericsson will build for Optus in Sydney and Melbourne.
The Kellyville site uses radio access network (RAN) gear from the telco equipment vendor. A third-party CPE device employed 60MHz of Optus’ 3.5GHz spectrum during tests.
Optus has said it will have a “multi-vendor” approach to its 5G rollout – in practice that means partnering with both Ericsson and Nokia, following the decision by the Australian government to ban Huawei from providing 5G equipment for use in local networks.
Optus, like Vodafone, has employed Huawei equipment in its 4G network. Although Vodafone has loudly objected to the government’s decision, Optus has been far more muted in its reaction. TPG has announced it would scrap its plan to roll out a mobile network, with the telco attributing the decision to the Huawei ban.
Today’s announcement follows Optus in late January detailing its first 5G service: A fixed service for households being sold at a price point that represents a clear challenge to the NBN.
The Kellyville 5G cell is the fourth for Optus (two of the others are also in Sydney, while one is in Canberra).
“This is another significant milestone for Optus as we continue with our customer focused 5G roll-out plan,” said Optus’ managing director networks, Dennis Wong.
“We are further demonstrating that our multi-vendor approach to Optus 5G will help to deliver a more dynamic and innovative 5G network for the benefit of our customers,” Wong said in a statement released by the telco.
“With our fourth live 5G site now live we are building towards a truly game-changing year for Optus and our customers. Our next generation network build is now well and truly in full swing with site roll out planned over the coming months.”
Optus has said that by March 2020 it will launch 1200 5G sites, spread across the ACT, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.
The Kellyville site is currently undergoing interoperability testing, Optus said. When that process it complete it will open up for expressions of interest from potential customers for the service.
Rival telco Telstra has also been announcing 5G-ready sites – in December it said it had struck a deal with the regulator to gain early access to spectrum, allowing it to switch on sites in Melbourne and Sydney.