Optus customers in Australia's capital will soon be able to get their first taste of 4G smartphone handsets, as Korean technology giant Samsung begins testing TDD-LTE and FDD-LTE dual-mode Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S4 Mini smartphones on the telco's 4G network.
As part of its acquisition of Vividwireless last year, Optus picked up 98MHz of spectrum in the 2.3GHz spectrum band. Optus uses this spectrum for a time-division duplex (TDD) long-term evolution (LTE) network to complement its frequency-division duplex (FDD) LTE network running in the 1800MHz spectrum band.
While FDD-LTE has dedicated slots for uploads and downloads, TDD-LTE uses the entire spectrum allocated to it for both downloads and uploads, separated by time.
In Canberra, Optus' 4G network is only available in the 2.3GHz spectrum band because Optus lacks spectrum in the 1800MHz band in the region. Optus has said that the TDD-LTE network will be progressively rolled out in Australian metropolitan centres across the next year.
Since the launch in June, Optus has only had a dual-mode Wi-Fi hotspot and a dongle available to residents in Canberra to access 4G. However, from September, customers will be able to purchase a dual-mode Galaxy S4 from Optus, and the Galaxy S4 Mini will also be dualband when the device is released by Samsung.
The dual-mode devices will allow customers to shift seamlessly between both 4G network types as required, and still retain 4G connectivity.
Optus' managing director for sales Rohan Ganeson said in a statement that Optus has been working closely with Samsung to test the devices on its network.
"We are proud to be the first telecommunications carrier in the world to support Samsung's devices with seamless TDD/FDD-LTE handover technology on our network, giving quicker access to leading technology for those who choose Optus," Ganeson said.
The announcement of dual-mode Samsung Galaxy S4s will likely please Australia's federal politicians based in Canberra.
As ZDNet first reported in January, the Department of Parliamentary Services has shifted from the default BlackBerry device given to parliamentarians and has begun offering a range of smartphones. ZDNet understands that this includes the Samsung Galaxy S4, the Nokia Lumia 920, the BlackBerry Z10, and the iPhone 5.