Optus completes 5G data call using 2.3 GHz spectrum

Optus plans to turn on its 2.3 GHz spectrum sometime in 2020

Optus is claiming to have made the world’s first 5G data call using 2.3 GHz spectrum in a trial completed in Sydney using kit from Ericsson.

“With its lower frequency, the 2.3 GHz spectrum band will, in the future, ultimately offer our customers even greater speeds as well as providing greater coverage depth enabling even more customers to benefit from 5G services,” Optus Managing Director of Networks Dennis Wong said.

He added that Optus plans to turn on its 2.3 GHz spectrum sometime in 2020.

This latest achievement comes almost a year after the carrier partnered with Nokia to complete its first-ever 5G call last January using 3.5 GHz spectrum and 60 megahertz of channel bandwidth.

The carrier currently has 300 live 5G sites across Australia, with plans to connect 1,200 sites by March 2020.

In addition, Optus announced the general availability of its 5G Home fixed wireless service across the 138,000 home footprint covered by its 5G network last month. For AU$70 per month, consumers can receive unlimited data at a 50 Mbps minimum speed guarantee, an attractive alternative to signing up with the National Broadband Network, which has raised its wholesale prices in recent years.

In May, the 5G Home service network speeds were averaging 100 Mbps. However, Optus CEO Allen Lew said that the service is so far delivering close to half a gigabit peak speed.

“The reality today in Australia, is that there are large numbers of homes that want faster broadband, despite the National Broadband Network,” said Lew.

In other news, Lew will be stepping down from CEO of Optus in April of next year to take on the newly-created role of CEO of group strategy and business development at Singtel, as well as the country chief officer of Thailand. Lew will be succeeded by the current deputy CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin.

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