About the Optus Network
Singtel Optus Pty Limited is Australia's second largest mobile network operator. It has been a wholly owned subsidiary of SingTel, a major Singaporean telecommunications company, since 2001.
Despite its Singaporean ownership, Optus has a long history in Australia and can trace its roots back to its formation as AUSSAT in 1981. Government owned AUSSAT launched Australia's first communications satellite in 1985 which was responsible for a range of communications activities including providing television services to outback Australia.
AUSSAT was privatised in 1990 with the sale of its business and telecommunications licences to a consortium of companies called Optus Communications.
Optus still uses its 3G network as the backbone of its network, although like other networks in Australia, the technology is slowly becoming outdated. In practically all areas of the country services are provided over a dual band network consisting of Band 1 (2100 MHz) and Band 8 (900 MHz). 2100 MHz is the company's high capacity 3G network as its short range means it can pack cell towers more densely and provide more bandwidth to individual users. In rural areas 900 MHz is more commonly deployed, its longer wavelength means signal travels a lot further and penetrates deeper through trees and neighbouring buildings.
In weak signal strength areas Optus has allowed our team to install booster systems such as the Cel-Fi GO unit. These units are compact, durable active repeaters which take an input signal from a donor antenna (typically installed on the roof of the building), and distributed throughout the building to internal antennas. These distribution systems can be designed as simple or as complex as necessary to achieve the desired coverage.
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Optus 4G & 4G+
Optus use a plethora of LTE bands, but the main to keep your eye on are Band 28 (700 MHz) which operates as its key long range carrier. Band 3 (1800 MHz) and Band 7 (2600 MHz) together provide high capacity urban connectivity.
After acquiring Vivid Wireless in 2012 Optus secured 98 MHz of spectrum in the 2300 MHz band, which the company has since refarmed into B40 (2300 MHz) LTE to provide its 4G Home Broadband service. The acquisition also secured spectrum in the 3500 MHz band which it has successfully piloted B42 (3500 MHz) LTE on but remains largely unused. The company also has numerous activations of B1 (2100 MHz) and B8 (900 MHz) LTE.
Optus launched LTE-A Pro "4.5G" services in February 2017, boasting peak data rates in excess of 1 Gb/s, using carrier aggregation, 256QAM modulation, and 4x4 MIMO technologies. This was extended further in September 2017 when the company deployed Massive MIMO in some areas of its live network, featuring 64T64R MIMO using technology.
As far as global standards go, Optus has become one of the world's fastest mobile networks. Of course like anything network performance depends on supply and demand - rural areas are always slowest to be upgraded with new network technologies. But that's not at all to say high speed 4G services can't be made available to regional Australia, the underlying network technology on all 4G sites is exceptional.
|Evolution||Status||Active [Launched 2012-07-31]|
|Max. MIMO||Max. Modulation||
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5G caught a lot of people in the technology industry by surprise. Expectation was that we wouldn't see 5G implemented until 2020 at the very earliest. But the tech industry moves faster than any other and 5G is already here. The key Optus band for 5G is n78 (3500 MHz) which it has deployed with 64T64R Massive MIMO antennas. Optus' 60 MHz channel means it can pipe around an extra gigabit on top of its existing 4G LTE network.
3.5 GHz does have a limited range, but beamforming technology has been demonstrated to provide similar range to that of 2.6 GHz. With 5G there aren't a lot of options as far as traditional external antenna systems go, 5G is such an advanced technology that we can't use old fashioned coaxial cables and patch leads. All 5G units worth their weight are all-integrated ODU style.
In the next year or two we'll see the introduction of mmWave 5G on Optus, who are looking at n257 (26 GHz) as their main millimetre-wave band. This is where things will get very interesting, and incredibly fast with trials showing data rates as high as 70 Gbps. Picking a 5G integration partner who understands the technology is going to become more and more important as the industry progresses.
Optus moved very fast on 5G. Our expectation is that Optus 5G will continue over n78 (3500 MHz) for the time, but an eventual refarming of its extensive 2300 MHz holdings is a near-certainty. Optus secured 98 MHz of 2300 MHz spectrum when it acquired Vivid Wireless in 2012 and portions of the spectrum are currently used for B40 LTE for the company's 4G Home Broadband service. It's R-Spectrum's prediction that an 80 MHz n40 5G carrier will be implemented in the coming years - possibly making the Optus 5G network the fastest in Australia.
NR (Rel. 15+)
|Max. MIMO||Max. Modulation||
|NR Band||Channel Width||Status|
In February 2017 the company announced successful NB-IoT trials in partnership with Cisco Jasper. To date no commercial services have been launched.