3G at 900MHz - the benefits revealed

European operators could benefit significantly from being allowed to provide 3G services in the 900Mhz band, according to a study conducted by the GSA. The organisation found that a review of the cost and coverage benefits made by the Australian 3G operator Optus from being able to at 900MHz were significant.

Optus claims its ability to use the 900MHz band provides it with a much larger geographical coverage area when compared to what is possible when using 2100 MHz--a spectrum widely used in Europe. When HSPA is deployed, Optus maintains the use of the lower frequency band translates directly into major Capex and Opex savings.

According to Andrew Smith, director of mobile core engineering for Optus, 900Mhz opens the door to a much larger data market because it provides better indoor coverage than 2100MHz. "UMTS900 is ideally suited for Australia. The extended reach of this frequency means we can deliver better quality and wider coverage across sparsely populated areas, as well as enhanced depth of coverage."

Smith added that the Optus network, which is the largest UMTS900 network in the world, gained from its ability to use existing infrastructure. "We had previously completed significant changes to our antennas, so with UMTS900, we could walk into a site knowing limited external work was needed, which allowed for a much faster deployment."

The GSA claims the 10 UMTS900-HSPA systems in commercial service in Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific are benefiting from a rapidly increasing choice of 900MHz devices from 23 manufacturers.

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