Optus stays mum on 21 Mbps upgrade

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Optus stays mum on 21 Mbps upgrade

Rebrands mobile network.

Optus has declined to put a date on an upgrade of its 3G network to HSPA+, believing that access devices and consumer demand for the speeds it promised wasn't there yet.

"What we don't see at the moment is a significant choice of devices for our customers at 21 Mbps [peak speeds]," Optus director of mobile access and broadband Henry Calvert said today.

"The devices seem to be lagging behind by nine to 12 months. There still isn't much choice in the market for USB dongles [that take advantage of HSPA+]."

Corporate marketing director Michael Smith said it would deploy HSPA+ "when there's consumer demand" for the speed and a range of devices to take advantage of it.

Rival Telstra went to HSPA+ in February last year. It has since upgraded parts of its network to dual-channel HSPA+, which offered a maximum download speed of 20.1Mbps.

Optus said today its existing dual-band 3G network covered "97 percent of the population for voice and will do [the same] for data later in the year".

The telco was speaking in Sydney to unveil a forthcoming series of TV advertisements that branded its 2G and 3G networks as "the open network".

Calvert said the ads showed "a network that was open for business and for new opportunities".

The telco had come under scrutiny over its advertisements in recent months with two cases brought against it by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The latest case was due before the Federal Court next week and involved Optus' "supersonic" broadband advertisements for its recently-upgraded cable network.

It had already been forced to change advertisements for "unlimited" bundles and was seeking court guidance on the meaning of the term "unlimited".

Smith said today that Optus was "distressed" by its status with the ACCC and had "never intended nor sought to intentionally mislead" customers via its advertisements.

It was "working with the ACCC" to resolve the latest complaints, Smith said.

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