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Mid February Update

21 Feb 2016
OzTowers

This fortnight was a bit of a mixed bag with Telstra upgrading 99 sites and adding 5 new sites. Telstra continues their aggressive 700Mhz roll-out nation wide, 1800Mhz continues to be rolled out by Telstra also.

Optus came in second this period with 92 sites upgraded and 5 new sites also. 700Mhz was also Optus' focus however 2300 and 2600 was also deployed where appropriate. The interesting thing was the proposals for 23 sites in rural QLD along major highways A55, A2, A71 and A4. Looking at their existing coverage these proposals fill may gaps along those routes. This is the first indication I have seen that Optus is serious about fixing their "depth" issue in rural and remote Australia. With Optus missing out of black-spot funding this appear to be their response to that situation perhaps sending a message that they can do it without government funding.

Vodafone passes the 5000 active towers nation wide for the first time, quite a milestone but still some ways behind telstra. Although surprisingly they are only 800 towers behind Optus, while optus has a more even spread between rural and metro, Vodafone puts the bulk of their towers in metro locations. This fortnight Vodafone only upgraded 41 sites and activated 7 new sites. NSW featured heavily as they finalized their rural 4G 850Mhz roll out. WA got some activity in Metro areas getting 4G 850 upgrades. Its hard to say which state will be next with a rural 4G upgrade, perhaps its WA? although my guess would be Victoria.

The low band 700mhz 4G gap between Optus and Telstra has increased by 3 as Optus picked up the pace this month. Optus is now only ahead of Telstra in 4G 700Mhz by 1083 sites.

Mobile downloads hit 1.41Gbps in Optus LTE-A Pro trial

19 Feb 2016
OptusNews

Optus and Huawei have managed to achieve mobile download speeds 1.41 gigabits per second during a trial of LTE-Advanced Pro earlier this week.

Optus today announced the results of the trial, which employed so-called 4.5G technology.

The trial employed 100MHz of aggregated spectrum (5x20MHz).

“We continue to utilise our network and spectrum assets to test our network of the future and prepare for 5G,” said Dennis Wong, Optus Networks’ acting managing director.

“By 2020, 5G will be here and we are committed to identify ways to prepare our network to support this new technology and further improve customer experience.”

The trial took place at Optus’ Newcastle ‘Gigasite’ under live network conditions.

 

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

Fifield urged to extend mobile blackspots program

13 Feb 2016
InTheNews

Farmer's death might have been avoided.

Western Australia’s devastating bush fires are bringing the federal communications department and other government authorities under pressure to expand efforts to eliminate mobile service blackspots.

WA Liberal Senator Linda Reynolds told iTnews mobile coverage in high-risk bushfire areas remained inadequate, and urged the WA and federal governments to work with local councils, communities and carriers to address the problem.

Reynolds, who chairs the environment and communications legislation committee, said that would include directly requesting that federal Communications Minister Mitch Fifield to extend the government’s $160 million mobile blackspots program to “at least a third round”.

The program is currently limited to two rounds and is designed to encourage carriers to provide mobile service infrastructure in regional areas that would not otherwise be commercially viable.

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

1800 MHz band auction strong result reveals high demand for regional spectrum

05 Feb 2016
AcmaNews

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has announced the outcome of the 1800 MHz band spectrum auction, which concluded yesterday (4 February 2016).

Optus, Telstra, TPG and Vodafone all secured spectrum in the auction, resulting in total revenues (including withdrawal penalties) of approximately $543.5 million.

Totals for each successful bidder are as follows:

Optus Mobile   $196 million
Telstra             $191 million
TPG Internet   $88 million
Vodafone        $68 million


A table detailing who secured which spectrum lots where is available here.

The auction, which commenced on 30 November last year, ran over 179 rounds, enabling bidders to identify and place bids on spectrum within the band in those geographical areas they valued most. A table detailing the highest final bid for each lot and the successful bidder is available here.

To continue reading the article: click here. (acma.gov.au)

Optus, Telstra, TPG and Vodafone spaff AU$543.5m on spectrum

05 Feb 2016
InTheNews

Australia has scored AU$543.5m (US$391m) for part of its 1800 MHz spectrum.

The The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has announced the outcome of auctions it initiated in November 2015, with the following results.

Optus Mobile   $196 million
Telstra             $191 million
TPG Internet   $88 million
Vodafone        $68 million

The auctions offered access to the 1800Mhz bands beyond Australia's cities, meaning that the sparsely-populated rural areas can now have a better crack at using frequencies that are rather handy for delivering 4G services

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

Vodafone calls for government to prioritise expanded mobile coverage over copper network spending

05 Feb 2016
VodafoneNews

Telecommunications company Vodafone says the Federal Government should shift funds from maintaining Australia's ageing copper wire phone network, and put the money into mobile coverage instead.

Chief executive Inaki Berroeta told a forum in Parliament House on Thursday that Australia currently spends more than $200 million each year to maintain Telstra's copper network, much of which is slowly being replaced by fibre under the National Broadband Network.

He argues that is "hugely inefficient and an obsolete use of public funds," particularly when increasing numbers of Australians are accessing internet via wireless devices like phones.

Vodafone says data usage by its customers increased 70 per cent in 2015 compared with the year before.

The telco is also calling for Telstra to share its regional infrastructure with other telcos, to make regional network expansions financially viable for more companies, and to give regional consumers more choice.

To continue reading the article: click here. (abc.net.au)

End of January Update

05 Feb 2016
OzTowers

This period is again fairly quite, however NBN has begun proposing both 2300Mhz and 3500Mhz on some towers. Although there are no 3500Mhz towers that are active yet, this is the first time NBN has proposed both frequencies for any of their towers. Since NBN now offers max 50mb/s download speed (instead of only 25mb/s) that was only possible because of the deployment of 3500Mhz. So we should see many more towers especially in more densely populated areas with both bands becoming available. NBN Activated a further 15 towers reaching a total of 1200 Active towers, NBN are still proposing new locations as well bringing their total to 1979 just shy of their expected 2300 total towers nation wide.

Telstra just piped out Vodafone, with 59 upgrades and 1 new tower. Telstra's focus continues to be 4G700Mhz but also a few 4G1800Mhz were also added.

Vodafone Upgraded 58 towers and added 1 new tower, most of the upgrades were in QLD adding 4G2100 to towers that were recently upgraded with 4G850. Tasmania also got a bunch of towers upgraded with 4G1800, I assume as a result of some successful apparatus licenses. This will be a welcome relief to long suffering Tasmanian's who may have felt they have been abandoned by Vodafone.  This is only the beginning for Vodafone in Tasmania, with the black spot funding adding a further 17 new towers, Vodafone coverage will likely become better than what optus is offering currently especially down the east coast.

Optus once again brings up the rear, with 4 new towers and only 27 upgrades. 4G700 continues to be the focus however 4G2600 continues to be rolled out alongside, optus is still also adding 3G to some sites also.

The low band 700mhz 4G gap between Optus and Telstra has decreased by 28 as Optus slacked off this month. Optus is now only ahead of Telstra in 4G 700Mhz by 1080 sites.

Network builders: LTE costs will transform the cell tower biz in 2016

02 Feb 2016
InTheNews

Analysis The vast cost of keeping up with demand for mobile data is intensifying the pressure on mobile operators’ capex budgets and accelerating their moves to improve their infrastructure cost base. Major agreements to share passive and active cell site equipment are becoming commonplace as regulators ease up on previous restrictions, accepting that, in the age of the MVNO, a common network need not reduce consumer choice at the services and pricing level.

The need to reduce network costs is also driving operators to out-source their towers or their whole RANs, and to seek new mechanisms to acquire and manage sites – a trend now extending from macrocells to small cells amid the move towards densification, as Sprint’s new site leasing initiative illustrates.

And in turn, all these changes are creating significant upheaval in the tower business itself, with a trend towards towercos, rather than operator-owned sites, being offset by the revenue squeeze that sharing can create for those independent site owners.

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

NBN puts mobile tower backhaul on fast-track

30 Jan 2016
NbnNews

NBN is planning to expedite the commercial launch of backhaul services for mobile phone towers by up to nine months.

The network operator revealed in roadmap documents this week that commercial availability of its cell site access service would be moved up from Q4 2016 to March.

Similarly, trials of the service that were set to run until the end of this year have also been shifted forward to expire in March.

An NBN spokesperson declined to comment to iTnews on the reason for the fast-tracking of the trial end and commercial service launch.

Questions on the number of cell sites in the trial and in forward bookings from the new March commencement date also went unanswered.

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

Mid Janurary Update

19 Jan 2016
OzTowers

For this fortnightly period, Vodafone continues its rural 4G roll-out with 152 tower upgrades focusing on ACT and QLD, with only a few stragglers in NSW. Vodafone also activated 7 new towers 5 of which were in SA.

Optus also picked up the pace continuing their 4G roll-out in eastern mainland states, upgrading 100 sites as well as adding a further 16 sites to their network, 7 of which were in SA. This brings Optus' total tower count up to 5800.

Telstra came in 3rd this time around with 93 upgrades fairly evenly spread across states, continuing their 700Mhz roll-out as well as a few 1800Mhz and the occasional 2600Mhz. Telstra also added 10 new sites across the mainland east coast.

NBN activated 14 new towers and now have a total of 1914(active and proposed) towers listed in the Rfnsa data. NBN continues to propose towers using 3500Mhz mostly around the outskirts of capitol cities and some using exiting mobile sites.

The low band 700mhz 4G gap between Optus and Telstra has increased by 38 as Optus picked up the pace. Optus is now ahead of Telstra in 4G 700Mhz by 1108 sites.

 

 

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