Optus has a 4G challenge ahead, but we win anyway
By Alex KIDMAN
Optus' announcement yesterday of the launch in Sydney and Perth of its 4G services wasn't exactly a suprise; Optus had been promising capital city launches for "mid-2012" for some time, and I suppose the very end of July still squeaks in under that definition, if only just.
I wrote up the details yesterday, as did a number of outlets, and saw a lot of criticism of Optus' choice of launch cities. Why Sydney and Perth? Why not Melbourne, Hobart, Darwin or Canberra?
I can't speak for Optus' network planning department, but it certainly creates the perception of a lesser network than Telstra's already existing 4G rollout, which covers a wide number of 4G locations, including many regional areas.
My own tests in Optus' trial area don't entirely bear that perception out, but frankly, from a consumer perspective, it shouldn't matter even if Optus can't entirely challenge Telstra in the 4G arena; just the presence of a market competitor is a good thing for all of us.
Optus' business pricing for 4G services sits in sharp contrast to Telstra's, with a base 10GB package at $15 a month cheaper than Telstra's 8GB package. Telstra's long sat as the "premium" priced data alternative, and with its own standalone 4G network, there's a solid justification for that kind of thinking. As with any business, it's only going to charge what the market will bear, and having a competitor nipping at its heels should keep things competitive -- and preferably lower priced.
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