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Optus Mobile Network Explained

Optus is one of the largest, and more popular, telco providers in Australia, offering customers a number of phone and internet services, regardless if you live in a small country town, or in the big city. But just how much of Australia does Optus cover, and is it the telco provider for you? In this Canstar Blue article, learn how much of Australia is covered by the Optus network, and whether Optus is the best network provider for your needs.

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What is network coverage?

Network coverage can be described as any area that is covered by a telco service provider. In terms of the telco industry, this includes areas from which you can make or receive a phone call, text message or access the internet. As a result, the larger the coverage area offered by telco provider, the more places in Australia you can call or message from.

What are black spots?

‘Black spots’ are the term given to areas that are not covered by network coverage. These are typically rural areas where a telco’s infrastructure isn’t supported, or where the phone signal is blocked by other structures, such as tall buildings or when you’re in an underground car park. The Australian government and the major telcos are working on the ‘Mobile Black Spot Program’ in order to reduce the number of areas affected by limited or no service at all, helping customers to make a phone call from anywhere in Australia. You can find out if you’re affected by a mobile black spot here.

Types of network coverage in Australia

With phone technology constantly evolving and improving, Australia has a number of phone networks that currently operate and keep customers connected. 3G and 4G are currently the most common and popular options, with 5G currently being introduced to major cities around Australia. The difference between each network coverage option is the speed on which they operate (with 4G being faster than 3G, and 5G faster than 4G), as well as how much of Australia they cover. If you’re interested in learning more about network coverage options, you can find more details here.

Where does Optus cover in Australia?

Claiming to cover over 98% of Australia’s population, Optus provides a number of network coverage options, including 3G and 4G networks, with 5G also being rolled out across major cities. Above is a map of Australia, showing which areas are covered by Optus’ network.

While most areas area covered by either the 3G or 4G network, areas that are further away from major cities will have less coverage, or may need additional devices such as antennas in order to gain access to suitable network coverage. Optus provides a Regional Hub on its website, outlining its plans for future expansions into rural areas, as well as phone and internet options for those far away from the big city.

Optus 4G Plus

An upgrade on the 4G network, the 4G Plus utilises the LTE network (which operates on a different spectrum), offering users a quicker data experience. Available to 96.5% of the Australian population, the Optus 4G Plus network covers both the major cities and regional towns, but is only compatible with more modern phones. However, you don’t have to do anything to switch to the 4G Plus network, as Optus will automatically switch you over if you’re in 4G Plus coverage.

What other providers use the Optus network?

While there are plenty of telco providers within the Australian market, most of them use the networks provided by Telstra, Optus or Vodafone to deliver their telco services. Known as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), these smaller telco providers ‘piggyback’ off the larger providers to offer phone plans and services to customers.

Below are the other telco providers that operate on the Optus network:

  • Amaysim
  • Catch Connect
  • ClubTelco
  • Coles Mobile
  • Commander
  • Dodo
  • Exetel
  • Hive Mobile
  • iiNet
  • Internode
  • iPrimus
  • Jeenee Mobile
  • Moose Mobile
  • ONEmobile
  • OVO Mobile
  • Southern Phone
  • SpinTel
  • Vaya
  • Yomojo

You can check out just what some of the providers have on offer here.

How does Optus coverage compare to Telstra & Vodafone?

With Optus covering 98.5% of the Australian population, how do the other major telcos compare? According to their websites, Telstra covers over 99% of the total Australian population, while the Vodafone network covers 96%. While coverage won’t generally be an issue for those looking to live or work in a big city, for those who spend most of their time out in the rural areas of Australia, how much coverage your network offers may be the defining factor in which telco provider you decide to go with.

Should I join the Optus network?

Ultimately, which provider you decide to go with will come down to your individual circumstance, including how often you’ll be using your phone, what you’ll be using your phone for and where you’ll be living. While Optus is one of the biggest telcos available within Australia, doing your research into what plans, phones and extras each telco provides will help you find the best option for you. Optus will have you well-covered in metro areas, but in the view of many, Telstra is still the go-to in remote parts of the country.

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Picture credit: Catrin Haze/, cunaplus/, GaudiLab/

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