Optus to start 2600MHz LTE trials

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Optus to start 2600MHz LTE trials

The 'other' digital dividend.

Optus will soon begin testing the effectiveness of 2600MHz spectrum for 4G services after negotiations with TV broadcasters and the communications regulator led to the granting of outdoor metropolitan trial licenses.

Mobile radio engineering vice president, Andrew Smith, said the outdoor trial license would "enable Optus to start live testing the next evolution of our 4G network".

"We are grateful to Network Ten and the Nine Network in particular for their cooperation in securing the 2600MHz trial licenses," Smith said.

"We look forward to working together with broadcasters and industry partners over the next six to 12 months to fully test [this] new [band]."

Optus was one of three telcos to secure allotments of 2600MHz spectrum in the digital dividend auction held by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) last year.

ACMA calls 2600MHz spectrum "the 2.5GHz band", carrying over the naming from its previous use for TV broadcasting services.

Telstra and TPG Internet are the other owners of 2600MHz spectrum, which will be available to serve commercial 4G services from October 1 this year.

Telstra has already been trialling 2600MHz spectrum as part of its tests of LTE-A carrier aggregation technology, which enables two sets of frequencies to be combined to bump up throughput and theoretical data speeds.

Its carrier aggregation tests in December last year saw 1800MHz and 2600MHz aggregated to produce theoretical download speeds of 300Mbps.

Optus' own carrier aggregation tests used two sets of spectrum from the same band — 2300MHz. It achieved speeds of 160Mbps.

Further carrier aggregation tests are planned this year by both Telstra and Optus using trial licenses of 700MHz spectrum — the other asset that was auctioned by the ACMA last year.

Telstra is looking at tests with 700MHz and 1800MHz licenses sometime before the end of June.

Optus said today it had secured 700MHz trial licenses in Sydney "to begin testing" though it did not specify whether those tests would involve carrier aggregation technology.

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