In Australia, the 3G network has been up and running for a number of years with companies offering services, some with their own network infrastructure and some sharing a network. Hutchison - which goes under the marketing name of 3 Mobile - Telstra, Vodafone and Optus all offer 3G phone services. Hutchison was the first to launch its 3G service in Australia back in 2003. It built its own network and covers around 96 per cent of the population (note: this is population density not geographical). In 2007, 3 Mobile launched their 3.6Mbps HSDPA network.
Telstra, which shares its 3G network with Hutchison, launched its service in 2004. Not to be left out, Vodafone and Optus banded together to build their own 3G network. Optus launched a business 3G offering in early 2005 and has continued its rollout into the consumer market. In May 2007, Optus began extending its existing 3G HSDPA coverage to 96 per cent of the Australian population and plans to continue over a three-year period.
Vodafone launched its 3G service in late 2005 with a range of services and plans. They activated their HSDPA coverage in small specialist areas of Sydney and Melbourne in late 2006, with speeds of up to 1.8Mbps. This followed further expansion of their HSDPA network in 2007 to more cities including Canberra, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Adelaide and Perth. NSW's Central Coast is expected to follow in September 2007.
In late 2006, Telstra launched its new "Next G" 3G network, promising real world speeds of between 550Kbps and 1.5Mbps to customers nationwide. The Next G network uses High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA), with theoretical maximum download speeds of 3.6Mbps. Telstra planned to provide out 14.4Mbit access in 2007, but later revealed that no 14.4Mbps devices will be available for its Next G network, which currently has more than one million subscribers. By 2009, Telstra expects the Next G network to be upgraded to handle speeds of up to 40Mbps.