Telstra, Voda did 4G to brag: Optus

Telstra, Voda did 4G to brag: Optus

Summary: Telstra and Vodafone have only announced launching 4G services for the end of this year to "brag", according to Optus CEO Paul O'Sullivan, and said his company doesn't see consumer demand for Long Term Evolution devices just yet.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Telcos, Optus
9

Telstra and Vodafone have only announced launching 4G services for the end of this year to "brag", according to Optus CEO Paul O'Sullivan, and said his company doesn't see consumer demand for Long Term Evolution (LTE) devices just yet.

Telstra and Vodafone have separately made announcements recently to offer 4G mobile internet services using free spectrum in the 1800MHz band that was previously used by 2G services. According to O'Sullivan, the two telcos won't have many customers buying up this year.

"The [LTE] announcements so far have been at 1800MHz frequency. Those are announcements which we feel are really being very much for bragging rights. People wanting to be saying they have it and maybe provide it to a very small number of customers," Paul O'Sullivan told ZDNet Australia in a teleconference this afternoon.

"Certainly in the next nine months or so we don't see the consumer demand and availability of affordable devices for 4G being all that significant in the market place," he said. "However, I can assure you we will launch 4G and LTE sometime soon and we will do it when it is ready."

Optus conducted a series of trials of LTE technology in Sydney last year, but O'Sullivan said that he believes 4G would only become appealing to customers once the telcos acquired spectrum in the 700MHz band as a result of the digital dividend spectrum auction in 2014.

"The major roll-out of 4G in Australia will happen at 700MHz ... That's where you're going to get the really big investments from the carriers and the big roll-outs. We think that's the stage where you're going to see very widespread consumer take-up and acceptance of the technology."

However, O'Sullivan said that the telco would launch 4G services before the digital dividend, but it will be driven by consumer demand for 4G and the availability of devices. In the meantime, O'Sullivan said Optus would focus on upgrades to its existing network.

"We've invested half a billion dollars every year for the last five years in our mobile network. Over the last 12 to 18 months, we've acquired and doubled our spectrum holdings in the capital cities," he said. "We have undertaken a significant metro build of new sites and we've been bringing those on stream. We now have over 80 per cent of our sites on fibre and we've been dramatically upgrading the backhaul capacity to our network. This year you'll see a continuous and aggressive metro build."

In response to O'Sullivan's comments, Telstra said its own LTE roll-out was just another stage in strong consumer demand for mobile internet.

"From Telstra's perspective we see strong interest from our customers in reliable, fast mobile connectivity and the integration of LTE technology into the network is a way to continue to deliver high quality services and meet growing customer demand," Telstra said in a statement, adding that it will be years before the digital dividend spectrum is available.

"In the meantime, we're making use of the allocations we have today so that we can start providing these services to our customers earlier than waiting for the other spectrum bands to become available."

Vodafone Hutchison Australia was also contacted for comment, but had not responded at the time of publication.

Topics: Telcos, Optus

About

Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

9 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Vodafail have yet to get 3G working beyond GPRS speeds in Dapto, when you can get any reception at all that is, wouldn't they be better off improving their existing network so that it... oh I don't know.. WORKS!!!
    homerecordingodyssey
    • Lol, you live in Dapto...
      NBNFTW
  • I live in Sydney and still get complete and utter rubbish connectivity. I have to constantly cycle "airplane mode" in order for it to get a connection. Websites don't load at all while catching the train in the morning, not to mention that there is no reception at Wynyard/Town Hall train stations (not talking about the tunnels, obviously nothing in there).

    To summarise, Vodafone is still Vodafail. Avoid at all costs, luckily my contract expires in 1 month.

    Hello Telstra! *spews*
    evilsync
  • "Certainly in the next nine months or so we don't see the consumer demand and availability of affordable devices for 4G being all that significant in the market place,"

    I feel this issue is very 'who came first, the Chicken or the egg'.
    The technology needs to be available for there to be a substantial consumer demand, and the only way that devices are going to be brought to the market is if they are fully supported.
    JMWarren85
  • This is the sad thing about the 'yes' men.

    For their title 'yes', they sure say a lot of 'no'. And if any telco brags to the market they are going to do something, and they do nothing, it is the 'yes' men, or as we say 'we're gonna, we're gonna' optus, to do 'nothing'.

    They could be a true competitors against Telstra, only to always cut themselves short in both fixed services and wireless. But with Pos (O'Sullivan) on the wireless data attack, he should take it to Telstra. But as always, they like to play second fiddle.

    The test will come with the purchase of the 700Mhz spectrum. Will Optus sell themselves short again, or go the full hog. I think I know where they will go.....
    Theguy-bbb4a
  • 2 things.

    1. The government has not auctioned off the license to operate 4G so it is illegal to operate commerically.
    2. Voda and Telstra have followed the American standard with 1800MHz, which means only American handsets will work on it.
    cootified
    • @Cootified - Actually the EC has mandated 900/1800MHz for the EU as well, so it's looking to be the band for global roaming. My understanding of it is LTE can be used on any band, so Telstra can reuse spectrum they already own/use for 2G (1800 MHz).
      Tinman_au
  • Hmmm, sounds like the Big O is losing its 'Challenger Spirit'.

    POS is playing semantics... he knows full well that most of the consumer market won't care about the underlying technology, but I am sure they want much faster downloads and higher quality reception... something on which Optus has always lagged Telstra and still do.... and why they are trialling LTE with SingTel.

    He would dearly love to have a 'halo' 4G product tomorrow if he could... but with all that recently bought 3G+ network gear, he (and SingTel) probably are not too keen to replace it just yet.
    FiberLover
  • Personally I'm still displeased they can call LTE 4G. It's not up to the original standard set for 4G and is only accepted as American telco's just started calling anything faster than 3G, 4G.

    It is faster but a little misleading to call it 4G, it's kind of like 3.5G. This means, when they actually acheive the original standard 4G, they'll be able to sell it to you as 5G.
    Joshua Wood-Rich