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Telcos invited to apply for spot in 1800MHz spectrum auction

11 Sep 2015

ACMA opens process.

The communications regulator has opened applications for participation in the country's auction of 1800MHz spectrum in regional areas, releasing details of the starting prices for all lots to go on sale.

Earlier this year the Australian Communications and Media Authority revealed it would impose limits on the amount of spectrum able to be purchased by one entity.

Bidders can only buy a maximum of 2 X 25MHz chunks of spectrum out of the 2 X 60MHz for sale.

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WA grants major planning exemptions for mobile phone towers

10 Sep 2015

The West Australian government has granted significant new planning exemptions for telecommunications equipment ahead of the rollout of the NBN’s multi-technology mix network.

The new rules cover communications structures visible above ground level, including NBN fixed wireless transmitters, mobile phone towers, enterprise-owned radio equipment or microwave links, and amateur radio equipment.

Known as state planning policy 5.2, the regulations have been welcomed by mobile phone carriers. They override local planning laws, and prevent local councils from banning telecommunications equipment as an acceptable land use in any zone.

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End Of August Update

07 Sep 2015

In the past 2 weeks, the battle for 700mhz intensifies between Optus and Telstra with Telstra rolling out 700mhz at around the same speed as Optus, but still significantly behind. Telstra upgraded 63 sites while Optus upgraded 58 and Vodafone 40, with Vodafone completing their main network upgrade push its not surprising they are now starting to fall behind. For new tower activation's telstra has 4 new towers, vodafone 8 new towers and optus activating 13 new towers in the past 2 weeks.

The 4G gap between Optus and Telstra has closed by a further 11 towers since the last update bringing the gap to 315. In low band 4G however despite Telstra's effort, Optus has very slightly out paced Telstra increasing the gap by 3 towers to a total of 1315 more 700Mhz 4G towers than Telstra. Telstra is continuing to roll out 4G 1800mhz which explains why they are closing the 4G gap but still loosing ground with low band 4G.

NBN's pace has picked up somewhat activating 22 towers for the 2 week period and adding an additional 12 proposals bringing their total to 1735 active and proposed. All of the activation's were for 2300mhz.

Telstra battles use of illegal repeater

06 Sep 2015

POOR mobile phone coverage throughout the Biloela region isn't Telstra's mistake - instead, a customer using an illegal repeater is to blame.

To make the situation even more bitter, the customer has been contacted to remove the device but has refused, causing further reception disruptions to other customers.

A Telstra spokesperson said further action had been taken against the offender.

"We are aware of an external interference issue in the area and are pursuing the issue with the ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) with a view to take action," the spokesperson said.

"People use repeaters to improve their own mobile signal but they may not realise that it's illegal or that it's also interfering with the mobile coverage for the wider community.

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Optus switches on 4G+ in Melbourne

03 Sep 2015

Telecommunications provider Optus has announced that its 4G+ network, combining one frequency-division duplex (FDD) and two time-division duplex (TDD) LTE spectrum bands, is now live in the Melbourne CBD.

The news follows the telco last month partnering with Chinese tech giant Huawei to switch on its 4G+ carrier aggregation network in Newcastle suburbs Lambton, Mayfield, and Mayfield West, with plans to launch in the Sydney CBD in early 2016, and in Brisbane and Adelaide from mid-2016.

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Will NBN satillite end up as slow or slower than it is now?

02 Sep 2015

It has been widely stated that the new skymuster satellites will provide a total capacity of 135 gigabits per second to up to 400,000 residence at speeds of 25mbps down and 5mbps up.

Sounds impressive right? but what about peak periods? just how much bandwidth does that equate to? Lets do the maths...

135 gigabits = 138240 megabits
138240 megabits / 400,000 residence = 0.3456 megabits per second
or 353.8944 kilobits per second which is 155.52 megabytes per hour

Now we all know only 1 in 10 people will be watching netflix at 7pm in the evening, so that means there should be 3.456 megabits per second available which is just enough for HD streaming.

Your results may vary, I'd be getting my netflix fix in sooner before the satellites get loaded up.

50Mbps NBN wireless on track for pre-Christmas launch

02 Sep 2015

NBN's speed boost to its fixed wireless service, which will see the potential maximum speed of connections increased to 50Mbps downstream and 20Mbps upstream, should be commercially available before Christmas.

NBN began piloting the new speed tier in May. Currently the maximum commercially available speed on the 4G TD-LTE service is 25/5Mbps. The upgrade to the service was possible without any additional capital investment from the company.

The fixed wireless service has reached a scale where "it's no longer just a bit player in NBN's stable of technologies," NBN's general manager, fixed wireless and satellite, Gavin Williams, today told the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network's conference in Sydney.

Almost 300,000 premises are within NBN's current fixed wireless footprint.

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Want 22GB of mobile broadband data? Optus has you covered

01 Sep 2015

More data with a long expiry time: That's the latest on offer from Optus when it comes to prepaid mobile data plans.

The top tier from the Aussie telco is 22GB of data, with a 730-day (2-year) expiry period, for AU$130. For AU$50 you can get 7GB with a 1-year expiry, while the more regular month-to-month plan offers 4GB for AU$30.

The lowest-level option allows for 1GB of data for one week for AU$10. The plans work across the range of Optus mobile broadband 'dongle' and hotspot products, as well as on SIM-enabled tablets.

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Telstra Cat 9 network: for the magic you need all the pipelines

26 Aug 2015

Testing a superfast 450 megabit per second data superhighway for mobile phones can have its issues. It’s what I discovered when I tried Telstra’s new 4GX Cat 9 network with one of the first two phones designed to access it.

Last week’s local release of Samsung’s two new smartphone powerhouses, the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 edge+ was extra significant for that reason.

So I obtained a Telstra-flashed Note 5, slotted in a Telstra SIM and began pounding the pavement in the neighbourhood of the News Corporation offices in Sydney. Telstra had armed me with information about where to for the best reception.

The first thing to note about the new Cat 9 is it’s not ubiquitous. Walking southward down Elizabeth Street past Devonshire Street towards Cleveland Street in Sydney, the phone’s ability to register a download speed of more than 100Mbps would wax and wane.

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Optus mobile subscriber base falls as Telstra, Vodafone step up competition

19 Aug 2015

Singtel-Optus chief executive Allen Lew says the company will not outspend Telstra on its mobile networks and says he is already investing more "pound for pound" than his rivals.

Telstra chief executive Andy Penn said on Thursday he would raise spending as needed to remain Australia's leading mobile services provider.

It was a shot aimed clearly at Optus, which has pledged to become Australia's leading mobile provider and increased its capital expenditure to $S1.9 billion ($1.85 billion) to try to do so.

But Mr Lew said Optus would march to its own drumbeat and was already outspending Telstra on a per-customer basis.

"We know how much we need to invest and we've upped it quite significantly," he told Fairfax Media. "That will get us part-way to where we want to be and we want to invest further.

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