Australia-based Optus claimed newly activated spectrum in the 900MHz band increased population coverage by up to 20 per cent per-site, enabling it to improve rural and in-building coverage.

In a statement, MD of networks Lambo Kanagaratnam noted Optus received early access to a substantial portion of the spectrum, enabling it to light nearly 1,000 sites nationwide.

He said it is progressively rolling out additional sites out across the country, but noted the 5G low-band coverage is only available on select devices and subscription plans, with more of each to be activated this year.

Kanagaratnam explained that since the low-band spectrum carries signals much further than higher frequency bands, a base station can provide coverage across a broader area and reach more customers, which he noted is important for improving connectivity outside of urban areas.

The 900MHz spectrum also provides better in-building coverage as it can penetrate deeper than mid- and high-band spectrum, he said.

In December 2021, Optus acquired 2x25MHz of 900MHz spectrum for AUD1.5 billion ($1 billion) with a 20-year licence starting in July 2024.