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Optus snaps up Vivid for 4G build

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Optus has swooped on the assets of 4G wireless operator Vividwireless for $AU230 million and use the spectrum as a cornerstone of its own 4G network build out.

Vivid's lofty ambition of rolling out an independent high speed wireless broadband network, instigated by Unwired Australia in 2000, has ended with the spectrum assets being subsumed by Australia’s number two carrier. The Seven Group bought unwired in 2008 for $AU127 million.

Seven later created Vivid to brand the 4G serviced it was rolling out, with the eventual aim of supplanting the Unwired brand.

Via the acquisition, Optus will gain access to up to 98MHz of spectrum in the 2.3GHz band. Optus said it planned to use this spectrum to build a new 4G network using LTE-TDD technology targeting households and businesses in metropolitan Australia with typical download speeds ranging from 25Mbps to 87Mbps.

The new network will be integrated with Optus’ 1800MHz 4G network, which will be launched in Newcastle and the Hunter region of New South Wales in April 2012.

The agreement includes the transfer of Vividwireless’ operating businesses, customer bases, spectrum licences and 4G network. The transaction is subject to a number of conditions, including the reissue of Vividwireless’ 2.3GHz spectrum licence and approval from the ACCC and FIRB.

“The acquisition of Vividwireless will give Optus a significant increase in network capacity to address the next wave of data growth that is just around the corner. By integrating it with our current 4G rollout in the 1800MHz band, we will be able to provide increased mobile speeds to our customers in metropolitan Australia.” Paul O’Sullivan, Optus CEO said.

Vendor Huawei has been vividwireless’s technology partner and successfully trialled LTE-TDD in early 2011, delivering peak speeds as high as 128 Mbps and typical download speeds ranging from 25Mbps to 87Mbps. Huawei’s technology is used in all of vividwireless’ networks across Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra and Brisbane.

Meanwhile, Huawei and Optus have also successfully conducted LTE-FDD trials, and connected Australia’s first LTE data call in the 700MHz ‘Digital Dividend’ spectrum band in November 2011. Huawei is also delivering Optus’ 900MHz mobile network across rural and regional Australia. ®

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