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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.

To continue reading the article: click here. (

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.

To continue reading the article: click here. (

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

To continue reading the article: click here. (

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.

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

14 Oct 2015

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. (

Vodafone offering VoLTE before Christmas, but only for Samsung users

14 Oct 2015

Voice over LTE (VoLTE) is set to hit Vodafone's Australian network, with the telco announcing that it will begin rolling out the service to post-paid customers on a select number of Samsung devices.

Users of the Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge +, and Note 5 will be the first to have the settings needed to take advantage of VoLTE pushed to them, with other devices to follow at an unspecified time.

"It's a really exciting change for the network, as this is the first step to moving all voice traffic over to 4G," Vodafone Australia chief technology officer Benoit Hanssen said.

"In terms of the network, VoLTE means enhanced spectral efficiency with 2.3 times more users per MHz. It will also support the re-farming of our spectrum from 3G to 4G so that we can continue to provide great data speeds as traffic grows."

To continue reading the article: click here. (

Banned on Whirlpool

14 Oct 2015

I (jimbo) have now been permanently banned on whirlpool (no warning, breach of advertising apparently), and as such will no longer be participating on that site.

I guess thats the thanks you get for trying to contribute something real and useful to the community.

This is not the first time I have had dealing with moderators on whirlpool and if you think you have freedom of speech or that the discussion there has a complete range of viewpoints think again.

If you enjoyed what I was contributing to the community, then feel free to let them know what you think.

Thanks everyone for your support, but goodbye Whirlpool, I wont miss you.

UPDATE: I have been un-banned, however I will now be reflecting on any further involvement I may have with whirlpool in the future.

Telstra warns of cost to fix mobile phone blackspots in fire-hit parts of central Victoria

13 Oct 2015

Telstra says it would be difficult to fix the mobile phone blackspot problem in bushfire-affected parts of central Victoria.

People in the area east of Kyneton have complained about a lack of coverage and the local Macedon Ranges Shire has described the problem as potentially dangerous for residents.

Telstra's Steve Tinker said the region's rugged terrain made providing mobile services difficult.

"The community have provided feedback to both Telstra [and the] state and federal governments, so we do know them," he said.

"It might take a number of base stations, so quite a bit of investment, to provide service in those areas."

To see the latest progress on the Black Spot Program: click here.

To continue reading the article: click here. (

Lancefield and Cobaw feel isolated by mobile black spots during bushfires

13 Oct 2015

​Bushfire-hit areas of Lancefield and Cobaw missed out on a wave of mobile phone coverage upgrades, despite being listed on a national database of black spots.

During the recent fire in the area, caused by a planned burn getting out of control during dangerous conditions, residents complained about poor or nonexistent mobile phone or internet coverage.

Some locals said they could not access information on the CFA's FireReady app because they could not get mobile access.

Lancefield and Cobaw are on a database of 6221 sites around Australia identified as a mobile phone black-spot area.

In June the Abbott government, including work by then communications minister Malcolm Turnbull, announced it would contribute $100 million towards upgrading 499 mobile base stations. The Victorian government chipped in $21 million towards the 109 sites in the state.

To see the latest progress on the Black Spot Program: click here.

To continue reading the article: click here. (

End Of September Update

05 Oct 2015

For the past two weeks things are basically continuing as they were two weeks ago. Vodafone continues with activating the most towers at 16 new towers, with Optus again coming second activating 13 and Telstra remains last at 9 new towers.

Site upgrade numbers came in around the same as last time with Telstra upgrading 108 towers continuing their 4G 700Mhz rollout.

Optus again came in second for upgrades with 94 tower upgrades, their focus has shifted somewhat with 4G 2100Mhz becoming a priority especially in NT. This will be removing some capacity from their 3G network in order to add capacity to their 4G network, with some towers getting only 4G 2100Mhz this may be also a method to use older equipment in some areas and speed deployment also with 700Mhz and/or 2600Mhz being added at a later date.

Vodafone's tower upgrade program continues to lag behind now as their focus shifted to new towers, they still managed 57 tower upgrades with 850Mhz continuing to be the main upgrade focus, 4G in metro and 3G in rural.

The low band 700mhz 4G gap between Optus and Telstra's has closed even more than last time to 1265 by 27 sites, rather than Telstra ramping up I think Optus is slowing down as 4G 2100Mhz was more of a focus this time.

NBN's pace has slowed significantly activating only 1 tower for the 2 week period and adding an additional 3 proposals bringing their total to 1739 active and proposed.

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