Australian operator Optus expanded its 5G service footprint to the state of Tasmania using the 1800MHz and 2100MHz spectrum bands, turning on the first of nine base stations in the city of Hobart.

Optus stated the remaining eight sites will be switched on by June, adding the dual-band set-up using Ericsson’s 4G and 5G integrated radio units allows it to introduce the wide coverage and high-capacity service in areas where 3.5GHz spectrum is unavailable.

The operator also said it introduced mmWave to the Australian state for the first time.

Optus VP of networks Lambo Kanagaratnam explained it started with Hobart but understands customers across the state are “eager to connect” and is looking at opportunities to deploy the technology more broadly.

Martin Wiktorin, Ericsson’s head of Global Customer Unit for Singtel (Optus’ parent company), explained the implementation of FDD extends the coverage footprint over a wider area, allowing more customers to take advantage of the fast speeds and low-latency required for 5G use cases including cloud gaming and video streaming.

Optus launched a dual-band 5G network in Sydney in early 2020 on the 2300MHz and 3500MHz bands, and in May 2021 turned on its first sites using mmWave spectrum in three cities.

Meanwhile, Optus announced last week it turned on satellite small cell sites at Bark Hut Inn and Edith Falls in the Northern Territory as part of a government Mobile Black Spot Programme.

Under the initiative, some 998 base stations have gone live, including 22 in the Northern Territory.

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