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Australian Optus launches WiFi services

Posted on 7-Mar-2003 16:25 | Filed under: News

Optus Mobile became the first major carrier in Australia to launch commercial WiFi or wireless broadband access services.

WiFi offers higher data speeds giving users in specific locations or hotspots the ability to download larger chunks of information faster using laptops or PDAs. WiFi is based on the international 802.11b standard for wireless local area networks (WLAN).

Mr Allen Lew, Managing Director of Optus Mobile said Optus is targeting business customers with the next wave of mobile data services. "Mobile professionals, such as senior executives and salespeople, are high users of mobiles, already carry laptops and would benefit from getting information faster, securely, conveniently and affordably."

"Our corporate customers tell us they want high-speed access to their corporate information when they are out and about without the need to plug into a wall."

Mr Lew said Optus would meet these needs by rolling-out 500 hotspots nationally in the next 12-18 months.

"Our initial hotspot rollout will focus on lifestyle cafes in key CBD locations as well as airports, hotels and major business centres," he said.

"From today, customers can access our WiFi service, called Optus Wireless Connect, at 14 locations including selected Delifrance and Hudsons stores as well as other locations in Sydney and Melbourne. In April, Optus will also add its service to 20 Gloria Jean's Coffees stores in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

Hotspots will also soon be established at Brisbane Airport in both the International and Domestic Terminals.

Optus also announced a deal with Air Portal to target the hospitality sector with WiFi locations. Under the arrangement, Optus will provide the network, billing and customer care infrastructure for all Air Portal venues. In return, Optus Wireless Connect customers will be able to access the internet at all of Air Portal's locations.

"In the next few months we expect to offer Australian WiFi users roaming services onto our 150 hotspots in Singapore as well as be able to connect them to thousands of locations across North America, Europe and Asia," he said.

"While our focus is on business users, WiFi savvy consumers won't miss out. They can tap into our hotspot locations around the country, with an easy to set-up and 'pay as they go' fee structure."

Mr Lew said WiFi was a natural fit with Optus' existing range of mobile data services and is complementary to its current 2.5G and later 3G mobile services.

Optus Wireless Connect Zones - Locations

Each hotspot will feature an 'Optus Wireless Connect' sign at the front door. Optus will continue to add more locations over time. A list of the current locations follows. Customers can get the latest location list and maps at

Optus Centre Sydney Foyer, 101 Miller St, North Sydney, NSW
Delifrance 336 Victoria St, Chatswood, NSW
Delifrance 162 Church St, Parramatta, NSW
Delifrance QVB, 455 George St, Sydney, NSW
Delifrance Wynyard Station, 301 George St, Sydney, NSW
Delifrance 201-205 Pacific Hwy, St Leonards, NSW
Chivas 54 Miller St, North Sydney, NSW
Hudsons 1 Castlereagh St, Sydney, NSW
Hudsons 2/455 Bourke St, Melbourne, VIC
Hudsons 5/161 Collins St, Melbourne, VIC
Hudsons 201 Spring St, Melbourne, VIC
Hudsons 84-86 Elizabeth St, Melbourne, VIC
Hudsons Cnr Queen St & Flinders Lane, Melbourne, VIC
Hudsons 3/201 Charlotte St, Brisbane, QLD

Optus Wireless Connect accepts payment from all major credit cards. Usage is billed in per second increments based on the following rate schedule:

Optus Wireless
Connect Plan
Access Fee
Excess Usage
Optus Wireless Connect Casual $0 $13.20 1 hour* $12.10 per hour
Optus Wireless Connect Regular $5.50 $0 0 hours $11 per hour
Optus Wireless Connect Silver $27.50 $0 2.5 hours $10.45 per hour
Optus Wireless Connect Gold $49.50 $0 5 hours $9.90 per hour

* Includes 1 hour of free connect time which expires at the end of the billing period. This will be between 29 and 31 days after activation.

Security: Optus has implemented a number of security features with its service. For greater security of data we recommend customers always log out at the end of each session, install personal firewall software and use secure websites where possible. Always use secure virtual private networks when connecting to a corporate network.

Hardware Requirements: Customers will need a standard Wireless LAN card that supports 802.11b technology, installed in their laptop or PDA device. Some laptops have the Wireless LAN capability built in otherwise, customers can buy a card from their nearest computer supplier.

Accessing corporate network/intranets: It is possible for customers to connect to their corporate network or intranet if their laptop is configured for secure virtual private networking (VPN). If customers don't have such a service available, Optus can provide this service via its Optus Secure Roam product.

More information: