Optus subsidiary Virgin Mobile has made available its 4G network to prepaid customers with compatible handsets.
Announced on Thursday, Virgin Mobile prepaid customers can now access to Optus' 4G 1800MHz frequency-division duplex long-term evolution (FD-LTE) network and "4G Plus" time-division duplex long-term evolution (TD-LTE) 2300MHz 4G network.
To use the network, prepaid customers need to enable 4G on their service by calling 275 and pressing "2", and have their phone's APN set to "YESINTERNET". For prepaid customers, excess data will cost 12 cents per 1MB, and is deducted in 1MB units.
Virgin's 4G coverage is available in areas of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Wollongong, Coffs Harbour, the Central Coast and Newcastle/Hunter regions, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Byron Bay, and Toowoomba, with 4G Plus now present in parts of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, and Adelaide.
Virgin began offering post-paid customers access to 4G in April last year, making use of the Optus network.
Optus launched its 4G network for business customers in Sydney and Perth in July 2012, with services for consumers following in September that year. Its 4G Plus multi-band network rolled out to Canberra in May 2013, followed by Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Adelaide in September. In testing the TD-LTE network in Western Sydney in December last year, the telco achieved 520Mbps download speeds.
Optus announced last month that it will next trial its 4G digital dividend spectrum over the 700MHz and 2.5GHz spectrum bands that it won in 2013 at the digital dividend auction for AU$649 million. The 700MHz band is not due to become available to the telcos until the beginning of 2015; however, the 2.5GHz band will be available from October this year.
In August 2013, Virgin overhauled its mobile plans and pricing, following the industry trend of offering less data for more money. At the time, the company's Australian head David Scribner said his aim is to get Virgin Mobile to be the "most-loved, irresistible mobile brand in Australia".