Optus' 4G/LTE network will be available to "select Optus customers" in NSW from next week, with a larger rollout expected to follow in the coming months.
At present, the LTE 1800MHz network is limited to residents in Greater Newcastle, Port Stephens, the Hunter Valley and Lake Macquarie via an invite-only trial. Participating customers will receive Optus 4G wireless dongles and a free data plan in exchange for their feedback on network performance.
Over one thousand business and residential customers are expected to receive Optus' 4G service and devices from next week.
Optus is the second telco to offer 4G services in Australia, following Telstra's national rollout which is currently available in more than 100 regional and metropolitan centres. (Read more here.) Vodafone, on the other hand, has yet to announce availability of a 4G network, but is "look[ing] at in the future."
“Today marks the first step towards Australians having a choice for 4G services so they can connect and interact in new ways," said Günther Ottendorfer, Optus Managing Director Networks.
Optus has yet to announce pricing for its 4G network, nor any specific 4G tablets or handsets. It will be interesting to see how prices compare to Telstra's 4G network, which recently expanded its coverage in the Newcastle area.
Optus’ 4G capital city network will hit Sydney, Melbourne and Perth from "mid-2012", with phase two of the rollout bringing expanded coverage to Brisbane and Adelaide from the first half of next year.