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TPG Telecom considers fighting NBN with mobile networks

20 Nov 2015

TPG Telecom has warned it might spend more on mobile networks that compete against the national broadband network if the federal government goes through with proposals to tax internet users in the city for the cost of building broadband in the bush.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull set up the Bureau of Communications Research (BCR) in 2014, which last month recommended a $6 monthly tax be levied on every single high-speed internet line running in Australia.

It claimed this was the best way to pay for the $9 billion cost of delivering satellite and fixed-wireless internet services in rural and regional areas. 

The proposal is facing major opposition from companies such as TPG Telecom and Vocus Communications, which want to build high-speed broadband networks that can compete against the NBN in urban areas. The BCR said the tax could force networks competing against the NBN to raise their wholesale prices by 22 per cent.

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So is it 4.5G or LTE-Advanced Pro? Either way, it’s pretty damn quick

12 Nov 2015

Huawei's Mobile Broadband Forum While BT and the UK government may think that 10Mbps is plenty of speed, nobody else does it seems, and the mobile world is now gearing up for 1Gbps. In fact, the so-called 4.5G even has an official name, LTE-Advanced Pro.

Whatever it’s called, the ability to increase the bandwidth beyond the 150Mbps of standard 4G comes from three technologies, namely carrier aggregation, more advanced modulation, and an increase in antennas.

Carrier aggregation is up and running on EE and Vodafone now (the networks combined), with typically 20MHz of spectrum from each of two frequencies – say 800MHz and 1800MHz in the case of EE – to provide more bandwidth and up to 300Mbps.

If the two carriers are contiguous you can get better performance. The LTE spec would technically allow lots of carriers to operate, but the cost of the spectrum means most people are looking to four as a sensible limit.

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Telstra, Ericsson achieve five-carrier LTE aggregation

10 Nov 2015

Telstra and its technology supplier Ericsson claim to have achieved a world-first with a test that used four separate radio frequency spectrum bands with five carriers for very high long term evolution-advanced (LTE-A) bit rates.

The trial at an undisclosed location used Telstra's production network, with a Cobham Aeroflex TM500 4G network testing device as the receiver.

It used 20 MHz each in the 700 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz ranges, as well as two 20MHz bands in the 2600 MHz frequency range, for a total of 100MHz aggregated bandwidth.

Five carriers and 100MHz are the maximum under the current LTE-A specification.

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Optus Is Selling 50GB Of Mobile Data For $70 A Month

03 Nov 2015

Is ADSL rubbish in your area? Can you not get cable internet? Are you still waiting for the NBN? (Yes, us too.) Well, have you considered using Optus 4G? With the launch of a new plan, Optus is targeting home internet users — renters, pop-up businesses and the terminally under-served — with a single super-high-capacity data plan and mobile brodband Wi-Fi hotspot. $70 per month will get you a massive 50GB of super-fast 4G mobile data.

Optus calls it Home Wireless Broadband; it’s really pushing the simplicity and ease of use of the service, talking about “simple, flexible internet access in no time”. And it’s true that a mobile broadband connection is super-easy, with no installation required beyond actually plugging that Wi-Fi hotspot into your power point and connecting to the wireless with your smartphone or tablet or laptop. It’ll certainly be cost-competitive with low-quota ADSL and NBN plans.

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End Of October Update

02 Nov 2015

The last 2 weeks again goes to NBN activating 27 new sites which continues their faster pace mentioned in the last report. NBN now have 1131 towers active as well as adding 36 proposals (all 3500Mhz), they now have 1781 of their expected 2100 towers listed as either active or proposed.

New tower numbers this time around have Telstra at 4, Optus at 12 and Vodafone at 10. Telstra's focus right now is upgrading existing towers with 4G so it's no surprise they only installed 4 new towers. Optus and Vodafone having finished they bulk of their 4G upgrade is now focusing on adding capacity, almost all new towers were in metropolitan areas for Optus and Vodafone.

Tower upgrades continue as they have been for some time now, Telstra 4G 700Mhz and 1800Mhz continues to be the focus with 96 tower upgrades.

Optus this time around has picked up their pace with 71 upgrades, with 700Mhz, 2300Mhz(metro) and 2600Mhz(rural) continuing to be the focus but also some 3G 2100 is being added to some towers.

Vodafone slowed their pace a little with 67 tower upgrades, with 850Mhz continuing to be the focus, 4G in metro and 3G in rural areas. Also 3G 900 is being added to some towers I suspect as preparation for 850 becoming wholly 4G in the near future.

The low band 700mhz 4G gap between Optus and Telstra's has closed further to 1206 by 23 sites as Telstra continues their fast pace catch up.

Can NBN spark a rural mobile revolution?

30 Oct 2015

A report containing a review of telecommunication services in regional and remote areas of Australia was tabled in Parliament on October 22  2015. The review was conducted by a Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee (RTIRC) that is established every three years under Part 9B of the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999. On the same day at an American Chamber of Commerce business lunch held in Sydney Vodafone Australia CEO Inaki Berroeta told The Australian that “people want to have mobile phone services in regional Australia. They don’t want payphones or fixed-line phones in their house, they want to use mobiles the same way that people use mobiles in Melbourne or Sydney.”

Now you might think that the remarks by Berroeta were echoed in the RTIRC report but that’s not the case. Berroeta’s focus was on how to ensure that mobile cellular operators gain access to a larger slice of state and federal government funds spent in regional and remote Australia and for the universal service to become mobile cellular based rather than utilising fixed-line, fixed wireless and satellite technologies.

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Telco review highlights importance of equitable mobile phone access

24 Oct 2015

The Federal Government's Regional Telecommunications Review highlights the importance of mobile phone services in rural and remote Australia. The final report from the Regional Telecommunications Review, which was tabled in Parliament yesterday, makes 12 key recommendations.

Telecommunications review highlights the increasing importance of mobile access (ABC Rural) For this review the Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull asked the Committee to have particular regard to the Government's national broadband network (the NBN) and Mobile Black Spot Programme policies, and whether current consumer protections continue to be appropriate following the rollout of the NBN.

Committee member, Georgie Somerset said there was wide ranging input into the review and what came through was just how important, and in many cases how inadequate, telecommunication services are in rural regional and remote areas.

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Vodafone calls for tougher backhaul regulations

22 Oct 2015

Predicts 5G will lead to a massive increase in data use.

Vodafone chief executive Iñaki Berroeta has argued for the federal government to take further steps to regulate the backhaul market in order to promote competition in rural and regional areas, ahead of the rollout of 5G networks.

The comments come after Vodafone signed two deals with TPG worth more than $1 billion, which will see TPG build a dark fibre network for Vodafone and migrate its own wholesale mobile customer base away from Optus to Vodafone.

In a speech delivered at an American Chamber of Commerce lunch in Sydney, Berroeta claimed end users in rural and regional areas were paying a $3.1 billion price premium because of a lack of competition.

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Telstra, Optus and Vodafone keep Melbourne Loop users connected

18 Oct 2015

Melbourne rail commuters can now call, text, email and browse the Internet on their mobiles, tablets and laptops while travelling through the City Loop underground tunnels, thanks to a partnership between the Victorian Government, Public Transport Victoria, VicTrack and our major carriers, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.

David Epstein, Vice President Corporate and Regulatory Affairs at Optus, has said that commuters will be able to utilise Optus’ 3G voice and data coverage to all commuters using the Flagstaff, Melbourne Central and Parliament underground station platforms and throughout the City Loop tunnels as well.

“Whether you’re making a call, checking work emails or streaming your favourite show, commuters now have mobile coverage throughout the City Loop” Mr Epstein continued to say

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Mid October Update

17 Oct 2015

The last 2 weeks haven't been particularly exciting except for NBN activating 30 new sites which has been the most activated in quite a while. NBN now have 1106 towers active as well as 1746 of their expected 2100 towers now listed as either active or proposed.

However with concerns over available capacity on the long term satellite solution, the cheapest way of adding more capacity to remote communities would be more wireless NBN towers (as apposed to a 3rd satellite) so 2100 towers may well be their starting point but I expect those numbers will continue to grow over time.

New tower numbers these couple of weeks were not particularly exciting also, with telstra continuing their usual pace with 10 new towers, Optus with 14 most of which were around metropolitan Melbourne (perhaps adding capacity to their recent 4G+ activation), and Vodafone adding 9 new towers around various metropolitan locations.

Tower upgrades continue as they have been for some time now, Telstra 4G 700Mhz and 1800Mhz continues to be the focus with 96 tower upgrades.

Optus this time around has really slowed down with only 49 upgrades, with 700Mhz, 2300Mhz(metro) and 2600Mhz(rural) continuing to be the focus.

Vodafone posted a respectable 80 tower upgrades, with 850Mhz continuing to be the focus, 4G in metro and 3G in rural areas. Vodafone also focused their upgrades on several 3G 2100Mhz only towers (they inherited from 3) with their lower band frequencies as well as 4G. Rural Queensland also featured quiet a bit with 3G 850Mhz being rolled out along the east coast.

The low band 700mhz 4G gap between Optus and Telstra's has closed further to 1229 by 36 sites, the gap continues to close and even more quickly now.

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