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Mid December Update

23 Dec 2015
OzTowersMonthly

Vodafone has officially announced 4G 850Mhz upgrades around Sydney, Rural NSW and ACT, however no official word yet on QLD. Vodafone is reallocating the remainder of their 850Mhz spectrum from 3G to 4G and using their 900Mhz spectrum to take up the slack for 3G. In the data we see Vodafone upgrading 127 towers, 53 of those in NSW and 44 in QLD, all of which are for the 4G 850 upgrade. Vodafone didn't enable any new towers this period, but thats to be expected since such a massive upgrade is taking place. Although no announcement for QLD has been made, my guess is it will be next and enabled early in the new year.

Telstra continues their 700Mhz upgrades with a total of 129 tower upgrades for this fortnight focusing mostly in the eastern mainland states, Telstra also added 5 new towers.

Optus although trying to keep up upgraded a respectable 93 towers as well as adding 2 new towers. Optus continues to focus on 700Mhz as well as 2600Mhz.

NBN activated 8 more towers and has recently announced a further 240 towers to shift load off the long term satellite solution and onto the fixed wireless network. Their active tower count is now 1177 and now have a total of 1870 towers listed in the Rfnsa data. Back in May of this year NBN's total tower count was at 2057 and with the additional 240 towers that number should now be just shy of 2300 total towers to be built, which means 427 are yet to be announced in the Rfnsa data.

The low band 700mhz 4G gap between Optus and Telstra's has grown by 8 towers to 1134 sites as Telstra also rolled out 4G on bands other in addition to their 700Mhz roll out, allowing Optus to claw back their lead slightly.

Vodafone improves 4G across ACT, regional NSW

18 Dec 2015
VodafoneNews

Vodafone Australia is continuing its bid to extend mobile coverage to areas outside of its metropolitan footprint, with the telecommunications carrier rolling out improved 4G to the Australian Capital Territory and regional New South Wales.

In order to provide consistent coverage throughout the ACT, Vodafone refarmed its 850MHz spectrum band to extend capacity, switching it on in 91 sites. The low spectrum band penetrates buildings more effectively than higher bands, working alongside the 4G provided through the 1800MHz spectrum band, the telco explained.

"Our strengthened 4G network will offer benefits to customers, such as better network performance and stability, and more consistent coverage, especially indoors," said Vodafone CTO Benoit Hanssen.

"A majority of customers in Canberra and surrounds already use devices that are compatible with this spectrum band, so they should immediately notice the improvements without having to do a thing."

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

Vodafone expands ‘Greater Sydney’ 4G footprint thanks to L850 re-farm

18 Dec 2015
VodafoneNews

Vodafone’s re-farming of an extra 5MHz band of its 850MHz spectrum is complete, with Greater Sydney areas getting extra 4G capacity and an improved mobile experience.

The ‘Greater Sydney’ area between Nelson Bay, Kiama and the eastern edge of the Blue Mountains now has more Vodafone 4G and the promise of an ‘improved mobile experience.’

Vodafone explains that ‘low-band spectrum, such as L850, provides high quality indoor mobile coverage as the lower frequency signal penetrates buildings more effectively than higher frequency signals.’

Telstra proved this with its 850MHz Next G network years ago, and Vodafone knew it too as it also has 850MHz spectrum.

In any case, the development complements the 4G coverage of Vodafone’s 1800MHz spectrum.

Thus, Vodafone says capable devices ‘are now able to aggregate the 850MHz and 1800 MHz band for an optimal mobile experience on the Vodafone network.’

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

NBN shifts 40k premises off satellite to offer more data

14 Dec 2015
NbnNews

Wants to avoid congestion issues on long-term satellite.

NBN will move 40,000 premises around Australia off its long-term satellite service and onto fixed wireless and fixed line services to free up capacity for other satellite users.

In late October it was revealed NBN planned to set caps for users on the LTSS after experiencing capacity issues on its interim satellite services.

This new fair-use policy would see a standard plan of 75GB introduced, with 100GB and 150GB premium options, to mitigate against congestion.

....

NBN head of fixed wireless and satellite Gavin Williams said that by adding around 240 extra fixed wireless towers, the network builder could optimise load on the satellite and improve capacity.

 

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

Telcos get second chance to bid in Aussie mobile blackspot program

10 Dec 2015
InTheNews

Public asked to nominate sites with no coverage.

Australia's telecommunications companies will get another chance to bid for tens of millions in funding from the government to build mobile towers in regional blackspots as the second round of the national mobile blackspot program opens.

The federal government previously committed $60 million to the second phase, and competitive bidding will take place early next year.

Before bidding can take place, the federal government needs to build a national database of blackspot sites across the country.

It today asked members of the public to nominate rural and regional areas that currently have inadequate mobile coverage.

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

NBN launches 50Mbps/20Mbps fixed wireless in the bush

07 Dec 2015
NbnNews

Fixed wireless is coming to more than 500,000 Australian homes and business in regional and rural Australia from today.

Boasting that NBN Co’s new fixed wireless broadband solution is 30% faster than that in Ireland, a country NBN Co says is our ‘next best fixed wireless global peer.’

NBN Co’s fixed wireless system uses radio signals from NBN’s ground stations, delivering ‘fast broadband by transmitting data to equipment inside and outside the home.’

Designed ‘to provide access to wholesale speeds of up to 50mbps download and 20mbps upload,’ NBN Co says this new network isn’t like a traditional mobile wireless service ‘where speeds can be affected by the number of people moving into an area.’

Instead, NBN Co’s fixed wireless service ‘is designed to deliver fast and reliable broadband to regions which often experience lags and drop-outs.’

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

End of November Update

06 Dec 2015
OzTowersMonthly

This fortnight the data shows Vodafone continuing to deploy 4G throughout rural Queensland and once switched on will have more low band 4G towers in the state than Optus and even Telstra. As yet no announcements from Vodafone have been made but I would expect to see that very soon. Vodafone upgraded 135 towers this period more than Telstra or Optus.

New towers this period picked up to more normal levels, Telstra adding 9 new towers, Optus 8 and Vodafone 5. Optus however made proposals on 24 new towers, some of which were on existing NBN and Telstra towers, these sites would no doubt help Optus solve their network "depth" issue.

NBN this period is continuing their relatively fast pace activating 25 towers and proposing a further 25 towers. Northern Central Victoria was a focal point for the activation's, while the new proposals focused in areas on the outskirts of metro areas. NBN now have 1169 active towers with a total of 1818 active or proposed towers.

Telstra upgrades this month continued their fast pace roll-out of 4G services mostly in the lower 700Mhz band but also included some higher bands in some areas. Telstra upgraded 113 sites this period.

Optus lags behind once again with only 78 upgrades. However 4G 700Mhz was the main focus, no doubt trying to hold of Telstra for as long as possible.

The low band 700mhz 4G gap between Optus and Telstra's has closed further to 1126 by a more modest 21 sites as Optus picked up the pace but Telstra continues to power on.

NSW government mulls unified public safety comms

02 Dec 2015
InTheNews

The government of the Australian state of New South Wales has completed a review of emergency services telecommunications, and has decided it wants a single statewide network.

The review (PDF), conducted by the NSW Telco Authority, concludes there's no point to having individual agencies own and operate their own networks: the authority wants the services to come from the private sector.

In the language of the public service, what the authority wants is to “harness the expertise that exists across agencies and make better use of the resources of private industry in order to provide reliable, secure and innovative solutions to our frontline personnel”.

In 2013, the country's emergency services lost the long battle to secure 20 MHz of spectrum for emergency services.

However, the authority hopes that Australian carriers like Telstra and Optus can still find some unused airwaves behind the lounge for emergency services, and is “seeking ind

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

ACMA releases 1800 mhz band for remote areas

02 Dec 2015
AcmaNews

The Australian Communication and Media Authority has released an information paper to telecommunications services providers on spectrum licensing and regulatory arrangements for the 1800 MHz band in regional and remote Australia.

The ACMA has revised existing regulatory measures for the band and developed access arrangements for remote Australia utilising telecommunications service apparatus licences (PTS licences) which it says will support the deployment of mobile services in remote areas.

To assist with an orderly release of licences in the band, the ACMA says it has defined a list of ‘priority assignments’ for access to the 1800 MHz band, and under this approach, applicants can only apply for licences in the specific channels assigned to them.

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

Mid November Update

23 Nov 2015
OzTowersMonthly

The big news this fortnight is Vodafone’s preparation for migrating its 850Mhz spectrum in rural Queensland (along the east coast) from 3G to 4G. I have not seen any official announcements however it would appear the switchover could happen any time now. All towers that are ready for the 4G switchover of the 850 band have 3G 900 active to provide coverage for older handsets. People with older handsets that don't support 4G may see a slight degradation of service, I'm sure Vodafone would encourage people onto 4G services.

New towers this period was very quiet, managing only 7 new sites between all 3 mobile providers with Telstra adding 4 towers, Optus 1 and Vodafone 2. NBN activated 17 new sites keeping their rollout moving along if not a little slower than last period. NBN now have 1150 active towers with a total 1798 towers active or proposed, adding a further 17 in the past couple weeks.

Moving onto Tower upgrades and Vodafone just piped out Telstra with 106 upgrades to 105 respectively. Vodafone’s focus was of course as already mentioned 4G 850, while Telstra was focused on 4G 700Mhz and to a lesser extent 1800Mhz and even lesser extent 2600Mhz. Optus was extremely quite with only 49 upgrades, with 700Mhz and 2600Mhz a main focus but also getting around to adding 3G services to a few towers.

With Optus' release of their "Wireless Home Broadband" product and their aggressive rollout of 2300Mhz (metro areas) and 2600Mhz (nationally) finally makes a whole lot of sense. Their plan is to attract all those people in NBN limbo, where for whatever reason ADSL is not an option but NBN is years away. Those people can now purchase an ADSL like product from Optus giving them 50GB of data for $70 a month, and when NBN arrives I'm sure Optus will be more than happy to migrate you to their NBN product. This is very smart and could make quite a dint into Telstra’s fixed line market share. Telstra is also now in a position where it cannot match this product with the lack of highband activated towers. Telstra has the spectrum, but has potentially missed the boat on making use of it in this NBN transitional period. Telstra would be at least 12 months behind if it decided to make an offering like this. Vodafone on the other hand doesn’t have the spectrum, however TPG has some 2600mhz spectrum (probably not enough however) and has suggested in recent articles its willingness to take on NBN in its wireless space. That coupled with its recent Vodafone partnership could see a new challenger to this space.


The low band 700mhz 4G gap between Optus and Telstra's has closed further to 1147 by a whopping 59 sites as Optus really slows down their 700Mhz rollout and Telstra powers on.

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