Optus has been driving excitement for its 4G network for a while, previewing a demo of an LTE network to media early in 2011. It was only in early September of 2012 that Optus officially opened its LTE network for business, despite months of trials earlier in the year.
The footprint of Optus' 4G network at launch was significantly smaller than Telstra's, only available in Sydney, Perth and Newcastle. Two weeks later, Optus added Melbourne to that list, before later expanding to Brisbane, Adelaide and the Gold Coast.
Since then, the network has continued to expand, with Optus claiming it will reach more than half the population by the end of 2014.
Optus doesn't offer a theoretical minimum or maximum speed from its LTE network, but testing shows it easily as well as Telstra's network, if not better. That could have a lot to do with fewer users being signed up to the LTE network though.
Using Optus 4G
As the Optus 4G network has expanded, so too has the number of devices available to use it.
Apple's iPhone 5 is Optus LTE compatible, and the network is also offering the 4G-enabled Samsung Galaxy S4.
Other than that, it's just a USB or wireless dongle for connecting your computing devices to the network.
One area that Optus does boast a big advantage over its competitors is in the extra spectrum it acquired as part of Vividwireless. The telco began rolling out a TD-LTE network across Canberra in May, with plans to expand it throughout the country. The new network promises theoretical speeds of over 200Mbps and practical download speeds between 25Mbps and 87Mbps.
The TD-LTE network runs on the 2.3GHz spectrum, while the rest of the network currently runs on the 1800Mhz spectrum, requiring dual-band devices.
Currently, only dual-band modems are available for Optus customers, although the telco has promised dual-band smartphones by the end of the year.