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Optus misses out on mobile blackspot funding

25 Jun 2015

Telstra to build 429 of 499 base stations.

Australia’s second largest mobile network provider Optus has failed to secure any funding to build new mobile towers in regional blackspots under a $385 million infrastructure program co-funded by the Commonwealth, states and telcos.

Overall, the program will see the construction of 499 new base stations, providing 68,600 square kilometres of additional mobile coverage.

The Commonwealth invited competitive bids from the three mobile network providers - Telstra, Optus and Vodafone - to secure a slice of $100 million it would contribute to building new base stations across the states and territories.

To continue reading the article: click here. (

Zero SA dollars, entire regions miss out on tower commitments

25 Jun 2015

The South Australian Government has not contributed any money to the black spot program and as a result only 11 new towers will be built in the state.

In comparison, Western Australia will see construction of 130 towers, Victoria 110, Queensland 68 and Tasmania 31.

Many farmers in the south-east of SA, who do not even own a mobile phone because it is useless at their home address, will not have a need to buy one any time soon.

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Mid June Update

18 Jun 2015

In the past couple weeks, Telstra's pace remains unchanged upgrading 74 sites and adding 8 new sites. Optus adds a new milestone, passing 2000 700mhz sites. Optus increases their pace slightly with 165 sites upgraded and but only 16 new sites added. Vodafone continues their 850mhz roll out with 4G in metro areas and 3G in rural areas, upgrading 103 sites and adding 5 new sites.

The big news this time around is NBN switching a bunch of towers with 2300mhz proposals to 3500mhz proposals (removing 2300mhz). There is a cluster of them around Colac VIC, I'm not exactly sure why those towers have been switched, there were a couple of others in other states also one in QLD and the other in WA. NBN also added a milestone of their own passing 1000 active sites. NBN added 23 more proposals and activated 43 sites 25 of those in NSW alone.

End Of May Update

03 Jun 2015

In the past 2 or so weeks, Telstra has continued adding proposals for mostly 700Mhz site upgrades with 140 proposals, however this has not yet translated into a ramp up in activations. Telstra continues to plod along at the same rate adding 14 new sites, and upgrading 70 sites.

The big change this time around is Vodafone outdoing Optus, Vodafone upgraded 134 sites with 59 of those in Victoria alone, mostly adding 850LTE to their sites, I'm guessing this is a second round of 850mhz deployment by Vodafone filling some of the gaps of the initial round some time ago. Vodafone also added 14 new towers which is on par with Telstra.

Optus has slowed their rate this time upgrading only 127 sites compared with 177 for the previous period and 251 prior to that. This seems like a definite trend but they are still outpacing Telstra by almost 2 to 1. The rate at which Optus is adding new towers however is not slowing down, adding 34 new sites compared with 24 and 37 new sites in previous periods. Most of the new sites Optus are deploying are mostly on existing Vodafone sites, however as time goes on I'm seeing more Optus services added to existing Telstra sites as well as wholly new sites (with a few new sites jointly shared with vodafone). Optus is going to run out of Vodafone sites to add it services, and this also doesn't solve their "Depth" issue in rural and remote areas, so it will be interesting to see how Optus tackles that problem longer term. You would think Optus would do some kind of deal with NBN, as backhaul and tower deployment is a significant cost and something NBN already has in place (or soon will) in many of the locations Optus would benefit greatly from. Alternatively thats a great bargaining chip to use in any negotiations with Telstra. Using as much existing infrastructure as possible is the only way Optus can really fix their "Depth" issue with any real speed and/or cost benefit.

NBN in the past few weeks has continued their current passe activating 58 sites as well as adding proposals for a further 9 sites. That brings their total to 1674 with their current goal being 2100 sites.

ACMA opts for limits in upcoming 1800MHz auction

30 May 2015

Boost for regional 4G services.

The federal government will offer key 1800MHz spectrum in regional Australia to interested buyers in a move that will provide a boost to regional 4G services.

But against recommendations by Telstra, the Australian Communications and Media Authority will only allow bidders to purchase a maximum 2 x 25MHz chunks of spectrum of the 2 x 60MHz for sale at the auction - a position Telstra's rivals Optus and Vodafone had lobbied for.

To continue reading the article: click here. (

NBN now has 2057 fixed wireless sites.

27 May 2015

According to itwire, NBN is now planning 2057 fixed wireless sites. As of this writing, currently only 1663 sites have been submitted for approval however that number continues to climb.

You can see all currently listed NBN sites here.

To continue reading the article: click here. (

Mid May Update

18 May 2015

For Mid May, in the past 2 weeks, the biggest news is Telstra seems to be gearing up finally! They have added over 300 new proposals for mostly 700Mhz deployments, this is a huge ramp up on previous weeks. They upgraded 91 sites and added 12 new sites. Optus continues their fast deployment with 177 upgrades and 24 new sites (mostly Vodafone sites, but a couple of existing Telstra sites as well).

I also noticed a few new Optus only tower proposed and as I suspected they are fast running out of Vodafone sites to add their services too so in order to expand further they will need to use existing Telstra sites or deploy their own. Optus announced more funding this week to add more depth to their network and I think this shows that commitment. Vodafone continues to plod along with 99 upgrades and 14 new sites. NBN activated 52 sites as well as adding 14 more proposals, they have a total of 1662 sites active and proposed so their 1600 site target continues to grow.

End Of April Update

02 May 2015

For the end of April, Telstra has finally pulled its finger out and started to ramp up at least for one state. For QLD Telstra upgraded 36 sites which was more than Optus or Vodafone, however overall Optus still upgraded 251 sites nation wide, Vodafone 95 and Telstra 78. Optus additionally added 37 brand new sites (mostly existing vodafone sites), Vodafone 17 new sites (existing optus) and telstra added 5 new towers (all without existing services). NBN activated 66 sites while also adding one more site proposal.

Overall Optus is fast outpacing Telstra for 4G enabled sites, they have around 60% of their total sites 4G active. And at this rate they will easily have 80-90% done by years end. The question then becomes do they continue to bridge the gap between themselves with 5633 total sites and telstra now with 7300 (mostly rural)? That's going to be much more slow going and they are surly going to run out of existing Vodafone sites very soon.

Mid April Update

18 Apr 2015

Here are the numbers for mid April, Optus has ramped things up yet again!!! Last month Optus upgraded around 300ish towers and added a further 100 new towers, totaling just over 400 changes for the month. In the first 2 weeks of April (including the Easter break) Optus has upgraded 317 sites while adding 27 new sites. I have noticed Nokia being used recently by optus and I believe this accounts for their ramp up. They are also using Huawei mostly on their shared sites with Vodafone while also still using Visionstream. Of their 27 new sites, 26 were on existing Vodafone sites while the remainder was on an existing Telstra site.

Moving right along to 4G site numbers, Optus has added 4G to 128 sites that previously never had 4G, Telstra added 17, Vodafone 39 while NBN activated 102 sites which is a huge ramp up also. LowBand LTE, Telstra added 40 sites, Optus 298, and Vodafone 141 sites.

End of March

02 Apr 2015

For the end of march, the rate is unchanged, optus is still going nuts with its roll out even adding 18 new towers in the past 2 weeks. Optus now has more 4G towers than Telstra, and since optus has way more 700Mhz 4G towers I think its fairly safe to say Optus has the largest 4G network in Australia. I think we will see some marketing to that effect very soon! Telstra upgraded 19 sites, Optus 127, Vodafone 46, and NBN 31 sites.

In the lowband 4G area, Telstra upgraded 34 sites, Optus 131 and Vodafone 94 sites. for the entire month of march optus not only upgraded 302 towers but also added 101 brand new towers. About 7 or so were totally new (no one else on them) the remainder were vodafone towers. Vodafone added 32 new towers in the same time all of them being optus towers. Telstra added 16 new towers in that time. Optus has 5500ish towers, so if they keep their rate of 400 per month you can see they are rolling out at a rate not unlike telstra had when they rolled out their next G network, just a little slower.

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