Mid April Update

20 Apr 2017

Well the big news in case you missed it is TPG has won 2x10Mhz of 700Mhz spectrum paying over $1.2Billion, which is roughly what Telstra paid but for half as much spectrum. TPG plan on rolling out between 2000-2500 towers giving 80% population coverage over the next 3-4 years. This compared to Vodafone which has just over 5000 towers with a coverage of around 96% of the population. OzTowers will make updates to the site over the coming months to track the TPG rollout. The RFNSA reports already contain a few TPG towers (using the iinet brand).

Vodafone however also picked up 2x5Mhz of 700Mhz spectrum, while that probably isn’t enough for their needs, at least they didn’t over pay for it with the cost being in line with what Optus and Telstra paid for theirs. Vodafone also seem to be finalizing their 4G2100 rollout with a massive 593 site upgrades this fortnight mostly in NSW/ACT and VIC. I would expect others state to follow soon much like their 4G850 rollout.  Vodafone also managed 20 new sites with the bulk in the eastern states, most were joint Optus sites, but a couple existing NBN sites also came online in NSW.

Optus continues to rollout new sites with another 39 coming online with the bulk in NSW and VIC. Optus also managed to upgrade a further 77 sites with 4G700 remaining a focus along with 4G2100 and 4G2600.

Telstra continues to plod along also with 11 new sites with 5 in WA alone, as well as 86 site upgrades with the bulk being in NSW.

NBN activated 8 additional sites with a father 8 site upgrades.

The low band 700mhz 4G gap between Optus and Telstra has decreased by 11 sites as Telstra ramps up. Optus is still ahead of Telstra however in 4G700 by 1074 sites. As Vodafone and TPG begin their 700Mhz deployments keeping track of this analysis probably becomes less relevant, but I think it’s safe to say that Optus is the clear 4G leader at this point in time.

North East Labor MP Jaclyn Symes backs her ministerial colleague Philip Dalidakis after he claimed parochialism was behind rail black spot concern

22 Apr 2017

NORTH East Labor MP Jaclyn Symes has defended her ministerial colleague after he suggested concern about mobile phone coverage on the region’s railway line was “parochialism”.

Victorian Small Business, Innovation and Trade Minister Philip Dalidakis was lauding his government’s mobile black spots expansion on ABC radio this week when he was asked why it did not cover Seymour to Albury.

He said he understood the “parochialism about extending it beyond Seymour to Albury-Wodonga” and was accused by host Joseph Thomsen of being a “little dismissive”.

Mr Dalidakis then replied: “You tell the people of Geelong that they shouldn’t get black spots eradicated between Melbourne and Geelong.”

Ms Symes believes her fellow Legislative Council member, who comes from south-east Melbourne, is conscious of the woes of the North East railway line.

“I think he would be pretty aware of it and the North East’s problems,” Ms Symes said.

“He sits in the same house as me and he would hear my rabbiting on about it.”

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

Vodafone executive says TPG can't build a decent mobile network for $600 million

21 Apr 2017

A Vodafone Australia executive has hit back at speculation that his company would suffer the most as a result of TPG's entry as the country's fourth mobile network.

TPG last week won the 700MHz band for $1.26 billion in a government auction and announced it would spend a further $600 million to deploy the network to 80% of the population. The new network will compete with incumbents Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.

While Telstra's share price plunged as a result, chief executive of independent telco Inabox, Damian Kay, told Business Insider this week that TPG's entry would have "a serious impact" on Vodafone as it currently had the smallest market share.

"I wouldn't be surprised if Vodafone ends up selling to TPG," he told Business Insider. "In fact, maybe that's actually the plan."

In response, Vodafone chief strategy officer Dan Lloyd said that while "it can only be a good thing for consumers" if TPG can succeed as the fourth player, he can't work out how it can build an entire network for just $600 million.

"We are investing at a higher capital intensity than our two major competitors, and suffice to say, our investment just to maintain and enhance a world class network is well above $600 million capital expenditure over three years," he said.

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

Wanneroo councillors call on residents to report telecommunications ‘black spots’ throughout City

21 Apr 2017

A MOTION on notice advocating for improved telecommunications services in Mariginiup led Wanneroo councillors to highlight issues facing several other suburbs.

Councillor Dianne Guise tabled the motion at the April 4 meeting, requesting the chief executive encourage Mariginiup residents to nominate their suburb as a mobile coverage black spot, ask residents and business owners to highlight other areas in the City where internet services are a problem and lobby the Federal Government for adequate services.

Her proposal said councillors were constantly hearing from residents that internet services were “less than satisfactory”.

“With an increasing number of people wishing to work from home and with the need for students to be able to study after hours online, this problem needs to be addressed,” the motion said.

“The City is going to need a fast and reliable Information and Communication Technology system for the Neerabup industrial area, if we are to successfully encourage companies to locate their business in our region.”

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

Optus commit to improving mobile coverage across the Riverina

21 Apr 2017

Improved mobile coverage across the Riverina will address some black spots but one farmer says the wait is disappointing.

It comes as one service provider on Thursday, promised to address 4G access in seven rural areas within two years.

Optus Franchisee Wally Pasquali said it it had committed $6.3 million to improving coverage in and around Wagga.

Mr Pasquali said there was clearly a need to focus on rural locations and planned to target Gumly Gumly, Downside, Lake Albert, Uranquinty, Collingullie, Junee and Marrar in the development of new mobile sites.

Mr Pasquali said the provider would expand its coverage along the Sturt and Olympic Highways, which would benefit those living, working, driving through and visiting the Riverina.

“We’ll have seven new sites in the next two years,” Mr Pasquali said.

“We already have four new sites up and going and we’ve upgraded eight sites around Wagga.”

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

Mobile coverage to improve on V-Line trains as plan announced on blackspots

19 Apr 2017

Take any morning train from one of the commuter towns outside Melbourne and you'll notice long periods of silence, and not just on the quiet carriages.

Poor mobile phone coverage has plagued V-Line commuters for years, with less than 50 per cent of the rail corridors receiving service. But the state government says it's making headway on an improvement plan.

Neglected rail corridors to Bendigo, Ballarat, Geelong, Traralgon and Seymour will move up to 95 per cent coverage, according to a new deal struck between the Andrews government and a telecom consortium of Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.

The $18 million scheme announced on Tuesday will include the construction of 35 new mobile towers, due to be finished in 2018. Work has also already begun to retro-fit metal Vlocity carriages with a in-train technology that will boost existing signals.

For passengers on the commuter V-Line network – which spans from Marshall in the west, Wendouree in the north-west, Eaglehawk in the north, Seymour in the north-east, and Traralgon in the south-east – the change can't come quickly enough. 

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

State government, telcos to build towers and install 'repeaters' to eliminate mobile black spots

19 Apr 2017

EARLIER: In-train devices and more phone towers will be rolled out on regional rail lines in a joint effort from telco giants and the state government to eradicate mobile black spots.

But one public transport pundit says a series of failed government promises in the past has him wary about the plan.  

Innovation minister Philip Dalidakis will announce today Telstra, Optus and Vodafone have signed an agreement with the state government to build 11 new towers along the Bendigo line and install in-carriage “repeaters” – devices which strengthen mobile phone signals – on trains.

The plan also applies to Ballarat, Geelong, Traralgon and Seymour lines.     

Telstra area general manager Steve Tinker said customers of his company would have 99 per cent coverage along the regional routes once the infrastructure was in place.

In-train technology has existed on some European services for about 15 years and Public Transport Users Association regional spokesman Paul Westcott said it was “a pity we are starting so far behind”.

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

Mobile/satellite plan ‘Pivotel’ to industry progress

19 Apr 2017

SOUTHPORT-based telecommunications firm Pivotel is launching Australia’s first satellite and mobile phone plan for under $100 in a move aimed at making inroads into the grey nomads market.

The company is offering a $99 monthly bundle including unlimited voice calls and SMS messages in mobile mode and $400 of satellite calls at 99¢ a minute.

It is delivered through a partnership with United Arab Emirates-based communications company Thuraya, which owns several satellites.

Pivotel chief executive Peter Bolger said the affordable plan has the potential to shake-up the Australian telecommunications industry.

“No one has ever done a bundle like that in Australia before for under $100,” he said.

“We have negotiated a very unique commercial arrangement with Thuraya ... to deliver an enormous amount of value.”

Mr Bolger said Pivotal hoped to change perception of satellite-phone technology.

“People tend to think satellite technology is expensive but the idea is to try to get people to make lots of satellite calls, stop thinking it is expensive and use it,” he said.

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

TPG’s capital idea for $2bn network

19 Apr 2017

TPG Telecom will launch its $2 billion mobile network in ­Canberra next year, offering free services in the city for up to six months, with founder David Teoh confident the telco can ­replicate its fixed broadband ­success in the mobile market.

Mr Teoh told The Australian TPG would use a combination of low price offerings, unlimited data plans and its extensive fibre infrastructure to steal the march on Telstra, Vodafone and Optus.

TPG has a strong track record when it comes to unlimited plans; it was the first to offer them for dial-up and fixed broadband ­services.

Mr Teoh added that TPG should have no problems securing the sites for the 2500 mobile towers that will underpin the ­network and it already has most of the foundations in place.

“The strength of our group is that we have most of the ingredients already in place, so when it comes to costs, the expensive backhaul infrastructure is already there; we have the IT staff, the call centres and the international gateways are all in place,” he said.

“We have been working on tower and site access for many months now and there are lots of parties in the industry that we have great relationships with, so we are very positive with that ­process.”

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

Black spot call out

19 Apr 2017

Greater Shepparton City Council will seek funding on behalf of communities with poor mobile connectivity after the region was largely unsuccessful in early stages of the Federal Government’s mobile black spot program.

The council will make an application for funding on behalf of the region, but to be successful, it needs the community’s help to identify local black spots — areas with poor mobile phone reception.

Council economic development project officer Rohan Sali said while lobbying for improved connectivity was not traditionally terrain of the council, it was in council’s best interest to ensure communities were not left in the dark.

‘‘If anything is restricting them from doing business... it’s in the best interests of council to support them.’’

Having hard evidence accompanying any application was another reason for the move and would be crucial to its success, Mr Sali said.

‘‘It’s why we encourage the whole community to jump on... identify any problem areas and how it affects you or your businesses.’’

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

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