Optus is opening its 5G fixed wireless service to a footprint of up to 138,000 homes, earmarking a major expansion of the fixed broadband-like service.
The telco opened the service to “expressions of interest” back in January and ended up providing services to “over 200” users under that campaign.
It said in May that speeds on the network were averaging 100Mbps; the service is marketed as a minimum 50Mbps for $70 a month.
“From today our 5G Home service will be available to up to 138,000 homes in selected areas for purchase online and through more than 170 stores as a walk-out working option for customers,” Optus said in a statement.
CEO Allan lew said that the limited trials had “been a great learning process for us as we have adapted to insights generated from real paying customers about their 5G experience”.
He claimed that average peak period speeds had increased to 164Mbps “with the top speed achieved over 5G of 400Mbps at this point in time”.
The network will face a test however if take-up of the service substantially increases now that it is being opened up to many more users.
Optus’ success in the space will also be closely watched by NBN Co and the government.
NBN Co has always maintained that it expected up to 25 percent of Australians to use alternative broadband, such as wireless, in its take-up projections.
Wireless is still viewed by the government as not being equivalent to fixed-line broadband services, mainly due to to quotas being less.
Optus Home offers unlimited data quota - and if its promised speeds are maintained with a larger number of users - the gap with fixed line will be substantially narrowed.
This is important for future policy decisions; when TPG tried to compete with NBN Co using fibre-to-the-basement (FTTB) technology, NBN Co wound up going head-to-head and the government also pledged to tax TPG for trying to compete with the NBN (though that tax has never passed).