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1800 MHz band auction strong result reveals high demand for regional spectrum

05 Feb 2016
AcmaNews

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has announced the outcome of the 1800 MHz band spectrum auction, which concluded yesterday (4 February 2016).

Optus, Telstra, TPG and Vodafone all secured spectrum in the auction, resulting in total revenues (including withdrawal penalties) of approximately $543.5 million.

Totals for each successful bidder are as follows:

Optus Mobile   $196 million
Telstra             $191 million
TPG Internet   $88 million
Vodafone        $68 million


A table detailing who secured which spectrum lots where is available here.

The auction, which commenced on 30 November last year, ran over 179 rounds, enabling bidders to identify and place bids on spectrum within the band in those geographical areas they valued most. A table detailing the highest final bid for each lot and the successful bidder is available here.

To continue reading the article: click here. (acma.gov.au)

Optus, Telstra, TPG and Vodafone spaff AU$543.5m on spectrum

05 Feb 2016
InTheNews

Australia has scored AU$543.5m (US$391m) for part of its 1800 MHz spectrum.

The The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has announced the outcome of auctions it initiated in November 2015, with the following results.

Optus Mobile   $196 million
Telstra             $191 million
TPG Internet   $88 million
Vodafone        $68 million

The auctions offered access to the 1800Mhz bands beyond Australia's cities, meaning that the sparsely-populated rural areas can now have a better crack at using frequencies that are rather handy for delivering 4G services

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

Vodafone calls for government to prioritise expanded mobile coverage over copper network spending

05 Feb 2016
VodafoneNews

Telecommunications company Vodafone says the Federal Government should shift funds from maintaining Australia's ageing copper wire phone network, and put the money into mobile coverage instead.

Chief executive Inaki Berroeta told a forum in Parliament House on Thursday that Australia currently spends more than $200 million each year to maintain Telstra's copper network, much of which is slowly being replaced by fibre under the National Broadband Network.

He argues that is "hugely inefficient and an obsolete use of public funds," particularly when increasing numbers of Australians are accessing internet via wireless devices like phones.

Vodafone says data usage by its customers increased 70 per cent in 2015 compared with the year before.

The telco is also calling for Telstra to share its regional infrastructure with other telcos, to make regional network expansions financially viable for more companies, and to give regional consumers more choice.

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

End of January Update

05 Feb 2016
OzTowersMonthly

This period is again fairly quite, however NBN has begun proposing both 2300Mhz and 3500Mhz on some towers. Although there are no 3500Mhz towers that are active yet, this is the first time NBN has proposed both frequencies for any of their towers. Since NBN now offers max 50mb/s download speed (instead of only 25mb/s) that was only possible because of the deployment of 3500Mhz. So we should see many more towers especially in more densely populated areas with both bands becoming available. NBN Activated a further 15 towers reaching a total of 1200 Active towers, NBN are still proposing new locations as well bringing their total to 1979 just shy of their expected 2300 total towers nation wide.

Telstra just piped out Vodafone, with 59 upgrades and 1 new tower. Telstra's focus continues to be 4G700Mhz but also a few 4G1800Mhz were also added.

Vodafone Upgraded 58 towers and added 1 new tower, most of the upgrades were in QLD adding 4G2100 to towers that were recently upgraded with 4G850. Tasmania also got a bunch of towers upgraded with 4G1800, I assume as a result of some successful apparatus licenses. This will be a welcome relief to long suffering Tasmanian's who may have felt they have been abandoned by Vodafone.  This is only the beginning for Vodafone in Tasmania, with the black spot funding adding a further 17 new towers, Vodafone coverage will likely become better than what optus is offering currently especially down the east coast.

Optus once again brings up the rear, with 4 new towers and only 27 upgrades. 4G700 continues to be the focus however 4G2600 continues to be rolled out alongside, optus is still also adding 3G to some sites also.

The low band 700mhz 4G gap between Optus and Telstra has decreased by 28 as Optus slacked off this month. Optus is now only ahead of Telstra in 4G 700Mhz by 1080 sites.

Network builders: LTE costs will transform the cell tower biz in 2016

02 Feb 2016
InTheNews

Analysis The vast cost of keeping up with demand for mobile data is intensifying the pressure on mobile operators’ capex budgets and accelerating their moves to improve their infrastructure cost base. Major agreements to share passive and active cell site equipment are becoming commonplace as regulators ease up on previous restrictions, accepting that, in the age of the MVNO, a common network need not reduce consumer choice at the services and pricing level.

The need to reduce network costs is also driving operators to out-source their towers or their whole RANs, and to seek new mechanisms to acquire and manage sites – a trend now extending from macrocells to small cells amid the move towards densification, as Sprint’s new site leasing initiative illustrates.

And in turn, all these changes are creating significant upheaval in the tower business itself, with a trend towards towercos, rather than operator-owned sites, being offset by the revenue squeeze that sharing can create for those independent site owners.

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

NBN puts mobile tower backhaul on fast-track

30 Jan 2016
NbnNews

NBN is planning to expedite the commercial launch of backhaul services for mobile phone towers by up to nine months.

The network operator revealed in roadmap documents this week that commercial availability of its cell site access service would be moved up from Q4 2016 to March.

Similarly, trials of the service that were set to run until the end of this year have also been shifted forward to expire in March.

An NBN spokesperson declined to comment to iTnews on the reason for the fast-tracking of the trial end and commercial service launch.

Questions on the number of cell sites in the trial and in forward bookings from the new March commencement date also went unanswered.

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

Mid Janurary Update

19 Jan 2016
OzTowersMonthly

For this fortnightly period, Vodafone continues its rural 4G roll-out with 152 tower upgrades focusing on ACT and QLD, with only a few stragglers in NSW. Vodafone also activated 7 new towers 5 of which were in SA.

Optus also picked up the pace continuing their 4G roll-out in eastern mainland states, upgrading 100 sites as well as adding a further 16 sites to their network, 7 of which were in SA. This brings Optus' total tower count up to 5800.

Telstra came in 3rd this time around with 93 upgrades fairly evenly spread across states, continuing their 700Mhz roll-out as well as a few 1800Mhz and the occasional 2600Mhz. Telstra also added 10 new sites across the mainland east coast.

NBN activated 14 new towers and now have a total of 1914(active and proposed) towers listed in the Rfnsa data. NBN continues to propose towers using 3500Mhz mostly around the outskirts of capitol cities and some using exiting mobile sites.

The low band 700mhz 4G gap between Optus and Telstra has increased by 38 as Optus picked up the pace. Optus is now ahead of Telstra in 4G 700Mhz by 1108 sites.

 

 

2015 End of Year Update

17 Jan 2016
OzTowersBiyearly

Optus

2015 was undoubtedly the year of Optus, installing 457 new towers and upgrading a further 2727 towers with the main focus in NSW and VIC, it was a monstrous effort by Optus. 4G 700Mhz was the main catalyst for the upgrades, however higher frequencies were also being added to most of those towers also, Optus has 2700 towers with low band 4G services. Some 3G capacity was still being added, especially 3G 2100Mhz. Optus now has just shy of 5800 towers nationwide and still has a lot of proposed upgrades yet to complete more than any other provider. Although Optus' roll-out pace has slowed in later months, it will be interesting to see if Optus gets a second wind in 2016, Telstra has really picked up as they must have felt threatened by Optus' 4G roll-out nationwide. Strategically Optus defiantly has one over on Telstra with the roll-out of their 4G 2300Mhz (capitol city only) and 2600Mhz (nationwide) networks, releasing their Home Wireless Broadband Product with 50GB of data for $70 it’s a product that is designed to replace an ADSL product in areas where ADSL is not so great. With NBN still being many years away for most, this represents a masterful strategic move where Optus can pick up many fixed line subscribers pre-NBN and migrate them to an NBN product when available. This will make inroads to Telstra's fixed line customers and is not something Telstra could offer in the near term as their roll-out of 2600Mhz is near non-existent. Although they do have enough bandwidth to offer such a product the lack of infrastructure will prevent them from offering it anytime in the next year or two, if at all. Surprisingly Optus did not participate in the Mobile black-spot program announced in 2015.

Vodafone

2015 was also a good year for Vodafone beating out Telstra in both new towers and Upgrades. Vodafone added 259 towers and upgraded 2455 towers also. Vodafone continued their low band 850Mhz network roll-out for both 3G and 4G with 4G 850Mhz becoming a major focus in the latter months in rural areas of QLD and NSW. Vodafone is expected to continue their rural 4G 850Mhz roll-out in the remainder of the states in 2016. Low band 4G for Vodafone is quite good only slightly behind Optus (by 200ish towers) with 2479 enabled. Vodafone also participated in the Mobile Black-spot Program picking up 70 new towers with TAS and NSW being a major focus.

Telstra

Telstra really lagged behind in 2015, however in later months started out pacing the other providers. Their 4G 700Mhz roll-out has been slow, but has picked up significantly with Telstra able to claw back some of Optus' lead in later months. Telstra upgraded 1861 sites as well as added 225 new sites, fairly evenly spread across all the states not favouring any in-particular. Telstra's low band 4G has 1630 sites well behind Optus' 2738, however Telstra is still the largest network with 7441 sites in total, 1700 ahead of Optus and 2450 ahead of Vodafone. Telstra is still adding 3G 850Mhz only towers to their network in rural areas however apart from that they are not adding any further 3G capacity to their network focusing instead on 4G. Telstra also picked up 429 sites in the mobile black-spot program.

NBN

NBN activated 616 new sites in 2015, with 355 additional proposals made. NBN now has 1184 sites active which is almost half of their entire proposed network now active. NBN originally had 2100 sites as their target, but with the interim satellite debacle in the back of their mind, they have decided to add a further 240 towers bringing their target to just shy of 2300 total towers, 1912 of those towers have been announced so far.

Vodafone's Inaki Berroeta gears up for next gen mobiles

13 Jan 2016
VodafoneNews

Vodafone Hutchison Australia chief executive Inaki Berroeta says improving customer satisfaction, launching tailored mobile plans and gearing up for the next generation of 5G mobile services will be top priorities for the year ahead.

Mr Berroeta nominated 2018 as a turning point for Vodafone Australia as the national broadband network gains scale across the country.

In an exclusive interview with Fairfax Media, Mr Berroeta said slashing customer complaint levels through increased automation, preparing for fixed-line broadband products and 5G mobile services were his priorities.

The company was playing a major role in changing the price and profile of mobile customers. It is expected to continue rebounding with subscriber and revenue growth over the next 12 months, raising pressure on and potentially reducing profit margins for rivals Telstra and Singtel-Optus.

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

Dedicated public safety mobile network 'not worth $6bn price tag'

12 Jan 2016
InTheNews

Productivity Commission knocks back spectrum demands a second time.

The Productivity Commission has handed down its final verdict on a dedicated public safety LTE network, once again knocking back the spectrum demands of emergency services organisations.

The Commission has calculated that setting aside spectrum and building a national mobile communications network for the exclusive use of public safety agencies would cost roughly $6.2 billion, $4 billion more than that it would cost to buy network services off a commercial provider like Telstra or Optus over a 20-year period.

It has put its backing firmly behind the use of commercial offerings, even ahead of a hybrid approach that could see someone like Telstra offer dedicated spectrum to emergency services customers, with a spill-over option that would leverage normal network capacity.

“A commercial option is substantially lower cost because considerable existing infrastructure could be used or shared, meaning significantly less new investment is required”, said Commissioner Jonathan Coppel.

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

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