Optus is targeting business customers with commercial wireless broadband access (Wi-Fi) services and plans to rollout 500 access hotspots within the next 18 months.
The carrier has also signed a deal with Melbourne-based Air Portal to take the solution into the hospitality sector.
“Mobile professionals are high users of mobile phones, already carry laptops and would benefit from getting information faster, securely, conveniently and affordably,” managing director of Optus Mobile, Allan Lew, said . “Corporate customers want high-speed access to information when they are out and about without the need to plug into a wall.”
Optus Wireless Connect is already available at 14 sites in Melbourne and Sydney with initial locations including CBD lifestyle cafes, airports hotels and major business centres.
The agreement with Air Portal will see Optus provide the network, billing and customer care infrastructure for all Air Portal venues while Optus Wireless Connect customers will be able to access the Internet through Cisco WLAN equipment at Air Portal outlets.
“Our venues will be able to differentiate themselves clearly from their competitors and Optus customers will have a greater choice of venues across Australia,” Air Portal president, Andrew Hamilton, said.
Lew said Optus expected to offer Australian Wi-Fi users roaming services at 150 Singapore hotspots and thousands of locations across the US, Europe and Asia within months.
As well as targeting the business community with regular, silver and gold plans, Optus will offer a casual pay-as-you-go service for Wi-Fi savvy consumers.
The regular service has a monthly access fee of $5.50 and an hourly rate of $11. The gold plan costs $49.50 per month and includes five free hours. The hourly rate is $9.90.