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Telstra banned from 700 MHz auction

15 Dec 2016
InTheNews

Owns too much spectrum already.

Telstra has been barred from buying any more 700 MHz spectrum for its 4G network at an auction next year, after the government heeded advice from the competition watchdog.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)'s advice to Communications Minister Mitch Fifield was that mobile users would be better served if the remaining spectrum was bought by Optus, Vodafone or TPG.

It said this could be enforced by setting a limit on the amount of 700 MHz spectrum any one carrier is able to hold to 2x20 MHz – the amount Telstra bought in the original 2013 auction.

Fifield said in a statement he had agreed to the allocation limit.

"This means that no mobile network operator can own more than two 20 MHz blocks of spectrum in the 700 MHz band, ensuring that the auction promotes competition and that the spectrum is allocated in the long‑term interests of end-users," he said in a statement.

A Telstra spokesperson criticised the move as "an unnecessary restriction, without any evidence of a problem to justify it".

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

Spectrum auction could boost opportunities for TPG 4G network

15 Dec 2016
InTheNews

Govt sets limits for 4G-friendly spectrum auction

TPG could potentially pick up a significant chunk of spectrum in the 700MHz band, boosting its ability to roll out a 4G mobile network, under rules set by the government for an upcoming auction.

The federal government today released the reserve price and spectrum limits for the upcoming auction of spectrum in the 700MHz band.

The government revealed in October that it would auction off the 2x15MHz spectrum left over from the 2013 Digital Dividend auction.

The government had previously indicated it was considering selling 2x10MHz of the spectrum directly to Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) but after a public consultation communications minister Senator Mitch Fifield announced a competitive auction for the spectrum.

The proposal to sell spectrum directly to VHA was opposed by Telstra, Optus and TPG, with TPG confirming that it is keen to get its hands 700MHz spectrum.

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

Optus phone tower in Alkimos to improve service in the area

14 Dec 2016
OptusNews

OPTUS has installed a mobile phone tower in Alkimos, with service |expected to start in coming months.

The tower is in the Alkimos Waste Water Treatment Plant buffer zone and is expected to improve services to people in the growing suburb. Alkimos Beach Progress Association president Chris White said residents were pleased to see the tower erected in November.

“The biggest problem since we moved in has been mobile coverage – people have been making phone calls on the footpath each night,” he said.

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

Let Optus, Vodafone, and TPG pick up 700MHz spectrum: ACCC

14 Dec 2016
InTheNews

Restraining Telstra from acquiring additional 700MHz spectrum would help competition, the ACCC has advised the Australian government.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has advised the Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield that an allocation limit be placed on the upcoming April auction of remaining 700MHz spectrum.

In advice released by the Department of Communications on Wednesday, the ACCC recommended the minister limit each mobile carrier to no more than two 20MHz spectrum blocks in the 700MHz band.

"Given Telstra currently holds over 50 percent of available low band spectrum, we consider that if it was able to acquire additional 700 MHz spectrum, it would increase its dominance of the available spectrum for use in mobile markets," the consumer watchdog said. "Further, we do not consider that being unable to acquire additional 700MHz spectrum will constrain its ability to compete."

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

McEwen still can’t hear you

13 Dec 2016
InTheNews

Round two of the Federal Government’s $60million Mobile Black Spot Program announced last week proved a case of the ‘‘haves’’ and the ‘‘have nots’’.

With just one new mobile phone tower planned in his electorate, Member for McEwen Rob Mitchell was ‘‘beyond disappointed’’.

However, MP Cathy McGowan described funding for the new towers in Indi as ‘‘a great result for lobbying’’ after her electorate gained approval for eight more mobile base stations.

The Victorian Government blamed Canberra for playing political games with the state’s infrastructure funding. But half of the state’s most poorly connected communities were ignored in the round and residents left searching for hills or clear spots to get mobile reception.

Mr Mitchell said he was frustrated when the electorate was only granted one tower, in Eden Park, from its 30 applications.

He said only 28 out of 499 base stations from round one were operating more than a year after being announced.

McEwen encompasses 4592sqkm from Seymour in the north to Sunbury and Bulla in the south-west to Craigieburn in the south and from Lancefield in the west to Reedy Creek in the east.

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

Telstra, Optus, Vodafone have improved mobile networks, as these numbers show

13 Dec 2016
InTheNews

Telstra, Singtel-Optus and Vodafone Hutchison Australia have all improved their mobile networks over the past 12 months as they spend billions of dollars to win over customers.

Optus and Vodafone Australia both pledged to spend huge sums of money expanding and improving their mobile services to bring the fight to Telstra. The telecommunications incumbent fought back, pledging to invest $5 billion in the three years ending mid-2017 to maintain its lead.

But far from being hot air, the second annual P3 CommsDay Mobile Benchmark Australia report released on Wednesday morning shows that all three have genuinely put their money where their mouths are to improve voice call and data download performances.

The mobile market is one of the few telecommunications segments still reporting revenue growth as Australians use their smartphones to download more data. Rising competition among the three largest providers is threatening to lower profit margins across the board.

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

Telstra Wins the P3 CommsDay Mobile Benchmark for the Third Year in a Row

13 Dec 2016
InTheNews

Optus is strong second with the highest voice score overall

Vodafone takes the lead in major cities

All operators show marked improvements 

Australia's daily telecommunications journal CommsDay and international leader in mobile benchmarking P3 communications have released the 2016 edition of the P3 CommsDay Mobile Benchmark, an industry-leading annual mobile network test. Telstra did best overall, winning the 'Best in Test' accolade for the third year running, with 867 points out of a possible 1,000. Optus came in second place with 837 points, substantially narrowing the gap compared to last year. Vodafone, which achieved the biggest score increase year-on-year, came in third with 812 points. All three improved on their 2015 scores; P3 uses the same 1,000-point system in benchmarks around the world, and for each of Australia's operators to score over 800 points this year marks out the country as having an extremely consistent level of high-quality mobile performance.

Now in its third year, the comprehensive test measured the voice and data performance on the three operators' networks in nine major Australian cities; in a range of smaller towns and cities; and along connecting roads in more regional areas, covering about 17,000 test kilometres overall. As in previous years, P3 updated the methodology for 2016 to capture as many of the latest network developments as possible. In particular, this year's benchmark included data not just from specially-equipped drive test vehicles, but also from new walk tests using proven P3 technology. This opened up a new level of granular and detailed testing in the five largest cities and provided deep insight into network performance indoors, in central business districts and tourist hotspots, and even on public transport in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

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

Leading the way to provide brilliant voice and video calling experiences

10 Dec 2016
TelstraNews

In 2016, Telstra continued to enhance our mobile network by delivering new technologies focused on providing customers with brilliant voice and video calling experiences.

Voice over LTE

Voice over LTE (VoLTE) is the next generation of how voice calls are carried over our mobile network. When calls are made on a VoLTE enabled handset, VoLTE works by integrating the call into the 4G LTE data stream.  Your data will also stay on 4G when you make a VoLTE call which your overall experience will be faster and your calls to other devices that are HD voice enabled on the Telstra mobile network or Telstra’s fixed networks will be in HD.

Telstra launched Australia’s first VoLTE service in September 2015, and soon after we enabled Telstra’s entire LTE footprint with the technology. This means 98% of the Australian population has access to VoLTE from Telstra and we’re currently planning to hit 99% by July 2017.

Our customers are taking advantage of the technology and we’ve seen nearly one million Telstra customers made a VoLTE call in the past month. This figure is on the rise, and we expect to have approximately five million customers using VoLTE by mid-2017.

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

Mobile funding blackspot

10 Dec 2016
InTheNews

Katandra West residents are ‘‘sick and tired’’ of having unreliable mobile coverage throughout the town after missing out on the second round of blackspot funding.

Back in 2014, the community presented Victorian Senator Bridget McKenzie with a petition of 200 signatures, calling for urgent action.

In the two years since, nothing has happened.

‘‘I’ve been living in the area since the early ’60s and since the invention of mobiles we’ve always had troubles,’’ Katandra West Fire Brigade captain Col Opray said.

‘‘I can’t get a hold of members, calls drop out and we drastically need an upgrade of our phone network.’’

The town has been identified as one of 6000 locations across Australia with no or limited connectivity but missed out in the first round of federal funding.

Now, after missing the second round of funding, the community is more fed up than ever.

Katandra West Primary School acting principal Marcia Waters said it was embarrassing for the town and she did not feel like she lived in the 21st century.

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

Funding for Temma black spot

10 Dec 2016
InTheNews

Connected. The remote town of Temma will receive vital communication support with a new phone tower planned under the federal government’s Mobile Black Spots Program.

This will ensure coverage in the event of emergency and will be a major advantage in events such as the recent bushfires.

The $350,000 structure will be built under round two of the program, designed to improve telecommunications in remote and regional areas. Round two includes 266 new or upgraded mobile base stations around Australia to be deployed by Telstra, Optus and Vodafone and is expected to commence in 2017.

Liberal Member for Braddon Roger Jaensch welcomed the news on Friday, saying Temma was one of six locations identified as a priority.

“A tower at Temma will support our dedicated emergency services in a high fire risk area and provide potentially life-saving services for the many hundreds of fishers, campers, bushwalkers and tourists,” he said.

“[This] investment in vital communications infrastructure follows the announcement last week of progress in delivering super-fast NBN services.”

Federal Member for Braddon Justine Keay also welcomed the announcement.

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

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