Optus unwires broadband

Australia's number two carrier, Optus, will follow hot on-the-heels of Telstra into the wireless broadband market, it said today, with plans to start its own trial of the mobile data technology in the Sydney suburb of Belmore.Optus' intention of squeezing its way into the market came as incumbent player Unwired Australia stepped its services up a notch, reinforcing its current wireless offering with new features for small business users.

Australia's number two carrier, Optus, will follow hot on-the-heels of Telstra into the wireless broadband market, it said today, with plans to start its own trial of the mobile data technology in the Sydney suburb of Belmore.

Optus' intention of squeezing its way into the market came as incumbent player Unwired Australia stepped its services up a notch, reinforcing its current wireless offering with new features for small business users.

Both moves follow a recent study by ACA Research that indicated 46 percent of IT decision makers in Australian businesses had plans to implement wireless technology, with budgets already set aside for this.

The Optus trial, which will be carried out with UTStarcom, will use a standard compliance technology to provide mobile high speed wireless data access that will leverage the rollout of Optus' mobile 2G and 3G infrastructure. It will test capacity, range and reliability of service.

A decision on the full commercial rollout of the service and number of base stations Optus will create is expected to be made next year once field trials are complete.

Meanwhile, Unwired Australia small business customers will now be able to take up Web hosting through WebCentral, have access to online learning provider WebsterWorld and all Unwired customers will receive the added benefit of free anti-virus protection for Unwired e-mail accounts.

Unwired Australia chief executive officer, David Spence says the additions are just the first in a range of offerings put out for the service, launched in August this year and now sold in 100 retail outlets across Sydney. He says all new offerings are in response to business demand.

"These features are the first in a raft of extra services we plan to offer our customers," Spence says.

ACA, in its survey commissioned by Telstra in November, says businesses are increasingly recognising the benefits of mobile technology for e-mail connectivity and a wider range of data applications. But the research also shows 89 percent of businesses have concerns about the cost of wireless implementation and mobile devices and data security.

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