Optus will begin trials of long term evolution or '4G' mobile technology in the first half of next year as part of a coordinated regional test by its parent SingTel.
Australia's number two telco said the trial would take place "over a period of six to nine months" and would involve kit from Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei, NEC, Nokia-Siemens Networks and ZTE.
The trial will rub salt into the wounds of Optus' major competitor Telstra, which is suffering a less than comfortable bargaining position with the Federal Government over telecommunications regulation.
Optus will be trialling the very technology the Federal Government is threatening to block Telstra from providing unless Telstra agrees to structurally separate.
The Optus trial would extend to Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore through the respective SingTel entities in those countries.
"The trials will lay the groundwork to establish a regionally compatible LTE network to facilitate growth in the mobile broadband business for the SingTel Group," the company said in a statement.
The "detailed field tests" will test both LTE base stations and core network equipment to "evaluate the features and end-to-end performance of the technology, which promises peak speeds of 340 mbps," the company said.
Similar trials have been announced by US carrier Verizon Networks, by Spanish telco Telefonica in Europe and by China Mobile, among around a dozen others.
Juniper Research expects the market for LTE services to be worth US$70 billion by the year 2014.
Australian telcos are yet to find out if LTE spectrum - which is widely expected to be deployed in the 2.5 GHz and/or 700 MHz bands, will be auctioned off by the Federal Government.
Issue: 324 | February 2014
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