Telstra, Optus gain early access to 700MHz 4G spectrum

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Telstra, Optus gain early access to 700MHz 4G spectrum

Push to use digital dividend spectrum.

Telstra and Optus have secured early access to the 700MHz spectrum auctioned off by the Government last year, and will switch on the first 4G services in the band in a number of areas around the country over the coming weeks.

The official launch of 700MHz spectrum, when technical trials are due to commence, is set for January 1 next year.

However, the telcos have been lobbying for early access while trialling 4G on 700MHz over the last several months, and succeeded in persuading the regulator to give them the go-ahead.

Telstra today said the Australian Communications and Media Authority had granted it an early access license, meaning it would soon turn on 4G on 700MHz across 20 towers in Perth, Fremantle, Esperance, Mildura, Mt Isa and Griffith.

Telstra is offering a number of 4G devices compatible with the new spectrum, specifically the HTC One M8 and Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphones.

The telco's announcement means Telstra now aims to operate 4G networks in several frequency bands that also include 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz and 2500MHz along with its main 850MHz mobile frequency range.

Telstra has two 20MHz bands of 700MHz spectrum, having spent $1.3 billion in the auction last year to buy 15-year management rights for the frequencies, along with bandwidth in the 2.5GHz spectrum.

Earlier today, Australia's second largest telco Optus similarly revealed it had scored early access to the spectrum and would therefore switch on 700MHz 4G LTE services in the CBDs of two cities - Darwin in the Northern Territory and Perth, West Australia - from Wednesday.

Optus customers will be able to use two devices, the HTC M8 and Samsung Galaxy S5, to access 4G service in the 700MHz band.

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