Samsung and Optus have today announced the pending launch of two new dual-mode 4G smartphones in Australia, the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy S4 Mini.
Described as the world's-first TDD-LTE (time-division duplex) and FDD-LTE (frequency-division duplex) devices, the new smartphones are the first in Australia to support multiple 4G networks, referred to by Optus as its "dual band" network.
The existing Optus 1800MHz FDD 4G network launched last year is complemented by the new TDD network, which uses the 2300MHz spectrum band.
The TDD network uses the entire available frequency for both downloads and uploads, whereas the existing 1800MHz FDD network has dedicated slots for uploads and downloads.
As they support both FDD and TDD 4G networks, the new Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S4 Mini dual-mode devices simply switch to whichever Optus 4G network is available.
Optus is the first mobile network in Australia to support TDD-LTE on the 2300MHz network band, but it's currently only available in selected parts of Canberra. The telco says the TDD-LTE network will be rolled out across selected Australian metropolitan centres over the next 12 months.
"Throughout this year and onwards we'll be expanding the 4G Dual band network to reach over 50 per cent of the Australian metropolitan population by the end of 2014."
"Until we launch TD-LTE in other areas later this year, you'll only be able to get one or the other network, depending on where you are. But that's going to change as 4G Dual band moves forward."
Since launching the TDD-LTE network in Canberra back in June, Optus has only had a dual-mode Wi-Fi hotspot and a mobile broadband USB dongle (Canberra only) available to customers.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini ($576 outright) will be available through Optus from early September, while the dual-mode Galaxy S4 ($744 outright) will be released in mid-September.
The Galaxy S4 Mini is available on a number of Optus plans including a $5 monthly handset repayment fee on the $50 plan, a total of $55 per month over 24 months. The plan includes 450 minutes of standard voice calls, unlimited SMS and MMS messages, and 500MB of data.
The dual mode Galaxy S4 is also available on a number of Optus plans, including a $7 monthly handset repayment fee on the $60 plan, a total of $67 per month over 24 months. The plan includes 600 minutes of standard voice calls, unlimited SMS and MMS messages, and 1GB of data.
Samsung describes the Galaxy S4 Mini as a "powerful yet compact version" of its best-selling Galaxy S4 smartphone, while the dual-band Galaxy S4 is identical to the single band 4G model, aside from TD-LTE capabilities.