End of July Update

04 Aug 2017

The big news this fortnight is Optus' announcement of a billion-dollar network spend. This includes towers Optus will build under the Blackspot Program, but also new towers as well as 4G upgrades including the rollout of 1800Mhz in rural areas. So far, the data isn’t showing a ramp up happening yet however there have been to be quite a few proposals by Optus recently that seem to be in preparation of this ramp up. This fortnight Optus added 9 new sites while proposing 15 more, we well as upgrading 32 sites and proposing a further 81 with 4G1800 being quite significant indicating the beginning of that major rollout.

Telstra also made a big announcement this fortnight with Cat M1 specification being turned on allowing Internet of things devices to communicate more efficiently with less power and over longer distances. Telstra added 7 new sites as well as proposing 18 more, while also upgrading a further 36 sites and proposing 64 site upgrades with mostly 4G900.

Vodafone recently activated a few rural sites with great fanfare, which may well be too little too late. Vodafone is not really growing its customer base and will most likely fail to do so with its lack of rural coverage being a major issue. Vodafone looks like they are standing still relative to Optus and Telstra. This fortnight they added 7 new sites and upgraded 23, with nothing much in the way of proposals.

NBN activated 10 new sites and upgraded a further 5 sites. NBN is still proposing new sites with this fortnight adding 2 new outer metro site proposals.

The low band 700mhz 4G gap between Optus and Telstra is holding firm and has decreased by 1 site. Optus is ahead of Telstra however in 4G700 by 1087 sites.

Telstra to open budget mobile telco

17 Aug 2017

Telstra is expanding its budget internet brand into a new mobile business to compete in the "price sensitive market".

Chief executive Andy Penn revealed the imminent launch of Belong Mobile, an extension "no frills" broadband business Belong which opened for business in 2013. According to Telstra, Belong has more than 150,000 fixed broadband customers, including more than 70,000 NBN services.

Penn said the new brand would target the price sensitive segment, which he estimated to account for 25 to 30 percent of the mobile market by 2020. No further details on specific products were given.

"We will be providing more details shortly but we are excited about the opportunities available for Belong Mobile and believe it will be as successful as Belong in fixed," said Penn.

Telstra is placing Belong Mobile up against a handful of budget telcos launched in Australia in recent years, as well as the impending launch of TPG's own network that will rival the big three operators.

To continue reading the article: click here. (crn.com.au)

Vodafone customers moan about sluggish data abroad

16 Aug 2017

No, non, nein says Brit telco's marketing bods, 'we don't throttle'

Vodafone customers are complaining their data is being throttled while on hols, with supposedly 4G services dropping to sluggish speeds of 2Mbps.

One affected customer, who has been with the UK-headquartered telco for around a decade, moaned he experienced problems with data roaming in the Netherlands and Cyprus recently.

The punter visited the same place in Holland for the last couple of years and said up until recently the service had been fine. "But since the switch to inclusive and free data it's been shit."

Vodafone's website stated: "We never 'throttle' – at home, or abroad – so you'll always enjoy full-speed roaming."

The issue first seemed to arise last month, even causing Alan Sugar, the normally retiring business tycoon, to vent on Twitter.

To continue reading the article: click here. (theregister.co.uk)

Vodafone's Massive Overhaul: More Honest Plans, Better Phone Repayments

16 Aug 2017

Vodafone is making big, big changes to the way it operates. Two-year lock-in contracts for mobile plans are a thing of the past, and you'll no longer be locked in to ongoing handset repayments either: you can buy a new phone outright, or pay it off over 12, 24 or 36 months.

The new Vodafone plans separate voice/text/data from mobile handset repayments, making it clearer what customers are paying and what they're paying it for. If you buy a handset from Vodafone, you can get it outright on a SIM-only month-to-month plan or discounted 12 month plan, or pay it off monthly over 12, 24 or 36 months alongside one of the telco's new Red plans.

The new plans range from $30 to $100, with anything from 3GB to a massive 50GB of data. All include unlimited national calls and text messages, but there are also Global plans with international call minutes and a Qantas Frequent Flyer points bonus on sign-up. If you sign up for 12 months, you'll get double data.

To continue reading the article: click here. (gizmodo.com.au)

Fixed 5G wireless to become fibre competitor by 2025

16 Aug 2017

By 2025, 1.4 billion 5G connections will see fixed wireless technology becoming a fibre competitor, according to Juniper Research.

The firm is predicting that from 1 million 5G connections in 2019, which is now being billed as “the anticipated first year of commercial launch”, will grow to 1.4 billion connections in 2025, an “average annual growth of 232%".

Juniper’s new research, dubbed “5G Market Strategies: Consumer & Enterprise Opportunities & Forecasts 2017-2025” is on sale to relevant parties at relevant prices, and notes that for 5G to be successful, “5G fixed wireless broadband would need to meet expectations in real-world scenarios to compete with fibre broadband".

Naturally, Juniper also has a free whitepaper to tempt you into purchasing its full report, entitled: “5G: How Operators Can Maximise ROI.”

The report’s key findings include the info that the top three 5G countries with the highest number of 5G connections by 2025 will be China, the US and Japan, accounting for 55% of all 5G connections by 2025.

To continue reading the article: click here. (itwire.com)

Melbourne Cup: Racing authorities campaign for right to access mobile phone metadata

16 Aug 2017

Punters make up to "600 bets a second" on Melbourne Cup day, but authorities charged with upholding the integrity of racing cannot view the phone records of anyone suspected of engaging in suspicious activity.

Until 2015, stewards and integrity officials in four states had the power to request phone records, but changes by the Federal Government, made as part of the metadata laws, stripped them of the tool.

Before the changes more than 80 groups had access, now it is just 21 key law enforcement agencies.

Authorities have been campaigning to get the powers back to ensure the integrity of racing is upheld.

Victorian racing integrity commissioner Sal Perna has made several requests to Attorney-General George Brandis' department to restore the powers, and he has the backing of the Andrews Government to do so.

With the Spring Racing Carnival just months away there is a renewed push for the powers to be reinstated.

To continue reading the article: click here. (abc.net.au)

Telcos willing to pay more for 5G: Gartner

14 Aug 2017

The telecommunications industry is prepared to pay more for 5G mobile capabilities than they are willing to pay for 4G, according to a newly published global survey.

According to the survey by analyst firm Gartner, 75% of end-user organisations would be willing to pay more for 5G mobile capabilities, while just 24% would be unwilling to pay more for 5G than for 4G.

"Those in the telecom industry are more likely to be prepared to pay more than those in other industries," said Sylvain Fabre, research director at Gartner.

"End-user organisations in the manufacturing, services and government sectors, for example, are less likely to be willing to pay a premium for 5G than telecom companies, which are willing to pay a 5G premium for their internal use."

Fabre says that in addition to offering better prices for industries in which users are less convinced of the business benefits of 5G, communications service providers (CSPs) must create value propositions that entice customers to start 5G migration projects sooner.

To continue reading the article: click here. (itwire.com)

The Best Smartphone Plans With Lots Of Data

14 Aug 2017

Do you remember when Optus used to include unmetered social media data in plans? Back in the good old days when most of Facebook was text-based and videos were unheard of.

These days, social media is one of the major data killers on our phones, not just because of the prevalence of videos, but also to the way that social media platforms prioritise the visibility of video. We recently ran a few tests and found that an hour of regular Facebook browsing uses about 80MB, an hour of watching videos on Facebook uses (a pretty reasonable) 160MB, and that an hour in Instagram burns through a huge 720MB.

Which is a long way of saying what you already know: you need data. Lots of it.

Happily, the telcos are listening and data inclusions are moving upwards in big chunks. Below are the plans with the biggest data inclusions you can buy right now.

To continue reading the article: click here. (gizmodo.com.au)

Clarke Creek experience highlights value of mobile phones for remote schools

11 Aug 2017

The central role that schools play in small isolated communities should see them a lay down misere when expansions of regional Australia’s mobile coverage footprint are planned.

That was the view of delegates to the federal Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association conference in Alice Springs, who voted to continue the lobby to relevant federal ministers to ensure that rural and remote schools are prioritised when any mobile coverage extension is contemplated.

The issue was brought up by the Balranald branch in New South Wales, which argued that most rural and remote schools were evacuation points in the event of emergencies in the area.

“Clare Public School is 155km from Balranald and consists of a school only,” the motion’s explanation read. “In the event of a bushfire, the school is the emergency evacuation point.”

Its prominent position makes it the custodian of the community Royal Flying Doctor Service medical chest and a defibrillator.

To continue reading the article: click here. (katherinetimes.com.au)

Development application lodged for mobile phone pole at Lake Tinaroo, large ‘public benefit’ for region

11 Aug 2017

Lake Tinaroo campers could have better mobile phone coverage soon.

A development application for a 40-metre-high Telstra telephone pole will be tabled at the Tablelands Regional Council’s planning committee meeting on Thursday.

The proposed development is recommended, despite issues with the pole’s closeness to residential areas and visual impact for surrounding areas.

The report said the impacts are outweighed by the “overall public benefit”.

“This officer assessment has identified some inconsistencies with the relevant provisions of the

applicable planning instruments, and localised impacts on visual amenity,” the report said.

To continue reading the article: click here. (cairnspost.com.au)

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