Optus hits 70Mbps in 700MHz LTE trial

Optus hits 70Mbps in 700MHz LTE trial

Summary: Optus has reached downlink speeds of 70Mbps and uplink speeds of 32Mbps in the first Australian long-term evolution (LTE) mobile trials carried out using 700MHz spectrum.

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Optus has reached downlink speeds of 70Mbps and uplink speeds of 32Mbps in the first Australian long-term evolution (LTE) mobile trials carried out using 700MHz spectrum.

Holding a video conference with Optus' headquarters in Sydney from a moving Bendigo tram.
(Credit: Optus)

"Our trial was in Bendigo, regional Victoria, over the past few months, and I'm pleased to announce today that it has been a success," Paul O'Sullivan, Optus chief executive, said at a Queensland AIIA luncheon. "We achieved peak download speeds of over 70 megabits per second. This wasn't in the lab — it was in the middle of the Bendigo CBD."

Optus used "real-world" scenarios to test the capability of the 700MHz spectrum, testing different wireless functions, such as using smartphone apps, mobile TV, online gaming and high-definition video conferencing.

The service enabled coverage 13km from a tower, as opposed to the 3km to 6km achievable with the 1800MHz spectrum that Optus is using for its LTE network in Newcastle.

Optus is the first carrier that the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has provided with 700MHz spectrum to run a trial, even though the 700MHz spectrum is being used for LTE by many carriers worldwide. The recently released new iPad, for example, would provide LTE speeds on carrier networks that are offering the technology using 700MHz.

In Australia, however, carriers are waiting for the spectrum to be freed up as television is switched from analog to digital, with spectrum to be auctioned off in November this year. However, the spectrum may not be available to operators for commercial services until 2015.

"That's three years. Let me be clear: it doesn't need to take that long," O'Sullivan said.

"We already have digital dividend spectrum sitting idle across about 40 regional towns, many in Queensland. More spectrum is becoming available every month."

The television stations that have moved to digital are still operating the digital services in the same spectrum band. Although Optus caused no television interference with its trial, in order to clear the way for commercial services, the spectrum needs to be re-stacked. O'Sullivan said that governments and broadcasters need to get together to figure out how to enable a phased release of 700MHz spectrum as areas switch to digital.

"Early access to vital spectrum in areas where analog TV has already been switched off will be important in driving future 4G mobile and broadband competition for regional Australia," O'Sullivan said.

Meanwhile, the amount of 1800MHz spectrum is limited.

Optus will go live with LTE services in Newcastle in April. Sydney, Melbourne and Perth would follow later this year. O'Sullivan said today that Brisbane had also been added to the list, with LTE expected by early next year.

Topics: Government, Government AU, Mobility, Telcos, Optus

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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13 comments
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  • It would be nice to see what the real world speed will be, as Telstra have upto 48meg on the 1800/2100Mhz - and optus has a much fast speed on a much lower have length - nice work!
    amckern-b0f83
    • Amckern, a couple of points, Optus have trialed on a lower frequency (longer wavelength), the wavelength/frequency has nothing to do with achievable peak speeds (it is the bandwidth which isn't reported here), however the lower the frequency, the easier it is to deliver a radio signal to a receiver.
      Nimos-92373
    • I've seen upwards of 90M/s on Telstras 2100 network

      Even 30M/s or so on 3G
      Fingercuffs
  • Peak speeds can be deceptive.
    In our location our Optus wireless mobile connection reports a peak speed of 7Mb/s but any actual downloads over that connection rarely exceed 75Kb/s.
    grump-a1eeb
  • Oh no please nothing can be more efficient than our fibre.
    Knowledge Expert
    • Is that you Alan?
      Beta-9f71a
      • No it's no Alan don't know Alan, who is Alan anyway?
        Knowledge Expert
  • More efficient, you are a scream...

    70 megabits vs 26 terrabits.
    Beta-9f71a
    • Oh this is news, now NBN will deliver 26 terabits / sec to the home! You and Julia make a good pair.
      Knowledge Expert
      • Yes Alan (you know the Coailitions puppet on the radio) one fibre starnd can do it, the fact hurt don't they?

        It's about time you educated yourself even minimally, to stop making a fool of yourself each day, with moronic comments...

        http://www.zdnet.com.au/nbn-co-26tbps-record-proves-fibre-right-339315626.htm
        Beta-9f71a
        • Who is this Alan person, perhaps you had beta make sure to whom you are directing comments? A link to an NBN co site hardly proves the point. Your comment about 26 terabits to the home is clearly incorrect.
          Knowledge Expert
          • LOL... but, but, but
            Beta-9f71a
  • Found incorrect again and then comes the inevitable but, but, but...

    Also, if you don't know who Alan is ... the guy who just like you, put his foot in his own mouth when the 26 tbps was achieved, the poster boy to those chronically conservative and another void of vision(ary) such as you, well I'm afraid you are beyond help!
    Beta-9f71a