Optus announces 3G network

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Optus has finally launched its own high-speed 3G data and voice network, following Hutchison, Telstra and Vodafone’s lead.

Optus has finally launched its own high-speed 3G data and voice network, following Hutchison, Telstra and Vodafone’s lead.

Data services from the Singtel-owned telco are available immediately with voice and content services available in two weeks’ time.

Basic services on the new network include domestic and international video calling, streaming TV, over-the-air downloads of up to 7500 music titles and a sim-card backup capability.

Currently Optus' 3G offering covers Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane CBD and the country’s six key capital city airports. Adelaide and Perth are due mid-2006 with 2000 bay stations across the country due by March 2007.

The new services are initially available on Nokia’s N70 and 6680, Samsung’s Z500 and Z140 and Sony Ericsson’s K600 handsets.

These handsets will be available with four capped call plans ranging from $49 to $89 a month. In addition, each end-user must also take on one of different three content packs.

Three data plans range from $49 for 50MB of downloads to $129 for 1.5GB per month are also available.

With the launch, Optus has partnered with Bullant, Nokia and LogicaCMG to overhaul its Zoo mobile portal with a new content management and a location-based system to create MyZooNow.

The site provides an improved user interface and allows for the delivery of 250 different types of content, including 7500 music titles, direct to the handset.

According to Optus Consumer managing director, Allen Lew, the company had invested significantly in two Australian firsts to differentiate its 3G offering.

The first of these, its Optus Wireless Connect data card and service developed with Nortel, allows for automatic roaming across GSM, 3G and 500 Azure wireless hotspot locations across Australia.

With Comverse it has also created a handset-based instant messaging client that replicates the functionality of MSN’s PC-based Windows Messenger.

The company has also partnered with Nokia to deliver the world’s first multi-operator radio access network.

Through the network each operator has access to its own segment of spectrum and can provide differentiated service levels to end-users.

“It is only through these partnerships that we can increase end-user adoption and realise the potential of 3G,” he said.

For LogiaCMG’s managing director Global Telecoms Australia, Lee Dalton, partnering with Optus on 3G would likely see other opportunities open up.

“This is one of the first full-on mobile content deployments we have done locally,” he said. “There’s certainly other applications for it on other internet portals and in the wider entertainment industry.”

For Legion Interactive CEO, David Burden, MyZooNow would open up new channels for the content provider.

“The portal is a very important way for us to quickly and easily sell our content over their handsets.

“Optus’ push approach to content is a way to build a more proactive relationship with the customer,” he said.

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