in brief After a successful long-term evolution (LTE) trial with Huawei, Optus has chosen the vendor for its first commercial LTE roll-out, which is occurring in the Newcastle area in April.
The network, to be built using re-farmed 1800MHz spectrum that had been used for 2G services, will be the first LTE network that Huawei has delivered in Australia. Vodafone also bought LTE-capable kit from Huawei; however, it doesn't intend to make use of the LTE capability just yet, with plans to first upgrade its 3G to HSPA+.
Huawei has been Optus' rural vendor for its 3G network since 2007 while Nokia Siemens Networks handled metro, so Optus' choice to use Huawei for LTE in a regional area like Newcastle would fit in with its existing arrangements.
The company has not made any announcements about a vendor for roll-outs outside the Newcastle region and could decide to go down a multi-vendor route for a national roll-out as it did for its existing networks. Nokia Siemens Networks has also conducted an LTE trial with Optus, reaching 40Mbps speeds in a metro area. The telco has previously said that Sydney, Melbourne and Perth roll-outs would follow its Newcastle implementation in mid-2012.