As we've been anticipating all week, Optus has officially launched its 4G network with a customer trial commencing in the Newcastle and Hunter Valley areas. But don't start queuing at your local Optus store or asking us what it costs: the trial is amongst a group of invited participants and no-one participating is being charged to use the service.
Around 1,000 test customers in the Greater Newcastle area are being supplied with a 4G wireless dongle and (if they're business testers) mobile Wi-Fi adapters if needed. Optus says 4G handsets will be supplied "in the coming months" but, as with Telstra's 4G rollout, the initial emphasis appears to be on mobile broadband.
Optus is still planning to roll out 4G in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth later this year, with Adelaide and Brisbane following next year. Those plans have been in place since September last year, while Optus has also conducted trials of 700MHz LTE in Bendigo and plans further expansion via its recent acquisition of Vividwireless.