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Mid November Update

21 Nov 2016

Optus has reported a big fortnight with 27 new sites most on the east coast with NSW getting the majority, but rural QLD not missing out either. Optus also upgraded 111 sites almost all getting 4G700 as well as some higher 4G bands. Optus also proposed a whole bunch of 4G2600 sites throughout CBD Sydney, perhaps in preparation of their 2G switch off April first 2017. Optus still deploy towers today with 2G which may seem odd, but perhaps it’s not. Right now they have around half of their 900Mhz assigned to 2G and the other half to 3G (3.8Mhz+ paired). Once they switch off 2G I suspect they will simply enable 4G on that part of the band. This will allow all the cheaper phones which don't have 700Mhz to get decent 4G coverage for the first time. Just don't expect blistering speeds though.

Telstra again plods along with 54 site upgrades with NSW again doing well, 4G700 almost exclusively was the target. Telstra also added 7 new towers 5 of which were in QLD alone. Telstra's 2G switch off is in the coming weeks, December 1 of this year so anyone with a 2G handset on Telstra should seriously consider upgrading NOW! tick tock.

Vodafone appears to be taking a breather this fortnight after their big push last fortnight, Upgrading 35 sites with NSW again doing well and adding 7 new sites mostly in conjunction with Optus. Most activity was in Metro areas but rural areas did get a couple of upgrades.

NBN continues its current pace, Activating 11 new sites, and also managed to upgrade a further 12 sites.

The low band 700mhz 4G gap between Optus and Telstra has increased by a further 52 sites as Optus keeps Telstra at bay. Optus is ahead of Telstra in 4G700 by 1116 sites.

Warning, NBN Rant

Well the market has spoken and have told NBN they don’t want to invest in obsolete technology (surprise surprise). But not to worry, Taxpayers just love paying for things multiple times like then we know we need a 3 lane freeway, but to save a penny or two we decide a 2 lane freeway is best. Then end up paying more than twice as much later when we finally realise that perhaps 3 lanes was probably prudent. Never mind all the disruptions and congestion in the meantime. Corporate welfare at its finest, oops I'm sorry for insulting all those layabout no good nicks ACA love to highlight ad nauseum whilst placing corporations on a pedestal (and we call that journalism).

How many times are we going to pay for NBN? Well much of Telstra was built with the public purse back then it was called Telecom, then we sold it with basically no strings attached, and now NBN is duplicating much of what Telecom built long ago costing valuable time and money while much of Australia is still an internet backwater due to lack of any action by anyone. So the government steps in buying back obsolete infrastructure, at first to scrap it (Corporate welfare yet again), then in their infinite wisdom NBN decided to use it. But in deciding to use it, NBN also needed to go to the market to get the remainder of funds, the market obviously politely declined.

Welcome to "Plantation Australia", but at least we have two company stores, Coles and Woolworth’s, so I guess that’s an improvement! We only need to look across the pond to see an example of how this could have been done and for the better. Where are we on the list of NBN promises? Cheaper? Fail!, Faster? Fail, Better? Colossal fail!, It’s time to stop what we are doing.

Phone service under scrutiny

19 Nov 2016

DEBATE continues about the future of phone coverage in regional Australia as the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission continues its inquiry into domestic mobile roaming.

Submissions close November 25 on the issue of whether customers with different mobile providers are able to use their phones in areas not covered by their provider.

Vodafone chief strategy officer and corporate affairs director Dan Lloyd said, through working across 26 countries within the company, he found infrastructure sharing was one of the most common ways to deal with the issue of regional coverage.

“If it’s not economic for one network, it is not likely to have two or three covering an area,” he said.

The discussion paper states Telstra as the sole provider for more than 1 million kilometres of Australia – an area that has just 0.8 per cent of the Australian population.

While in Adelaide recently, Telstra chief executive officer Andy Penn told Stock Journal allowing other networks access to towers would remove the economic imperative for the company to expand into new areas.

To continue reading the article: click here. (

Internet and NBN complaints up, mobile down, says TIO

18 Nov 2016

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) report launched today reveals 112,518 new complaints in the last financial year. Mobile complaints fell, but Internet and NBN complaints rose sharply.

The TIO serves to aid consumers in resolving disputes with their telco, via or 1800 062 058.

In today's launch of the TIO's 2015-16 Annual Report, the ombudsman Judi Jones stated the total number of new complaints about mobile, landline and Internet services dropped 9.6% in the previous financial year, from 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016.

Despite this decline, complaints have subsequently increased by 25.7% in the following quarter from July to September 2016 against the same period in 2015.

The areas causing most anger for telecommunications consumers are billing and payments, contracts, customer service, complaints handling and faults.

By far the National Broadband Network is causing the greatest growth in aggravation for consumers, with almost 100% increase in complaints in the previous financial year. NBN issues now represent 11.9% of all complaints to the TIO.

To continue reading the article: click here. (

Regulated Roaming “Undermines” Telstra’s $1 Billion Regional Expansion

18 Nov 2016

A proposal currently under consideration by the ACCC that could see mobile phone companies “piggyback” onto the Telstra network in regional areas would put up to $1 billion of future investments at risk, the company said.

Telstra announced at its investor meeting yesterday that it will direct 15% of investments in mobile network infrastructure to the most remote 2% of the country. Over the next four to five years, the company will invest $350 million in regional base stations and new technology, $240 million into Telstra’s Mobile Black Spot Programme and up to $200 million for regional co-investments.

“If Australia ends up with regulated mobile roaming, the real losers will be regional communities who want more coverage,” Telstra’s group managing director of networks Mike Wright said in a blog post.

“That’s because forcing Telstra to allow other companies – who have decided not to invest over a number of years to deliver more coverage to their customers – to piggyback on our network infrastructure and spectrum undermines the business case for all these investments. We don’t want that to happen and we don’t believe regional communities do either,” Wright said.

To continue reading the article: click here. (

Vodafone extends $5 roaming to more countries

15 Nov 2016

The carrier's $5 roaming service now includes Canada and a number of South Pacific nations.

Vodafone's $5 roaming service means its customers can use their plan inclusions when travelling in 58 countries, including plans with “infinite standard national minutes”.

This arrangement effectively means that the first use of the phone costs $5 and the marginal cost is zero for the subsequent 24 hours as long as they stay within the plan limits. Receiving a text does not count as using the phone.

The latest countries to be added to $5 roaming are Canada, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.

Vodafone pointed out that this means the whole of North America and most of the South Pacific are now included.

To continue reading the article: click here. (

Telco tower to combat mobile blackspots on Mount Ousley Road

13 Nov 2016

The notorious mobile blackspot along Mount Ousley Road could soon have better coverage, if Optus’s plans for a new telecommunications facility are approved. 

The mobile provided has lodged a proposal with Wollongong City Council to boost its 3G/4G network with a 30 metre high tower in Cataract, located on a rural property on Mount Ousley Road near Picton Road.

According to the proposal, which is open for public comment until Wednesday, Optus says its service in the area is “poor” and customers experience slow internet and call dropouts. 

“This is due to capacity problems with the surrounding base stations and the lack of Optus wireless services in the Mount Ousley area.”

To continue reading the article: click here. (

Mobile services ID checking requirements under review

09 Nov 2016

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is undegoing public consultation on proposed regulatory changes aimed at improving the identity-checking requirements for prepaid mobile services.

The ACMA issued a discussion paper on Monday following a 10-month  review the authority conducted of the Telecommunications (Service Provider – Identity Checks for Prepaid Mobile Carriage Services) Determination 2013 and the issuing of recommendations by a joint industry and government agency working group (PWG).

The proposed regulatory changes apply to eight of the 17 recommendations developed by the PWG to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of current regulatory arrangements.

To continue reading the article: click here. (

Vodafone UK hails results of Massive MIMO trial with TD-LTE

09 Nov 2016

Network leads the pack in preparing for 5G

Massive MIMO is an increasingly important element of operators’ plans for LTE-Advanced Pro and for 5G, despite a lack of devices and mass market chipsets on the near horizon. But the tests are piling up, many of them in China, Japan and Korea – but Vodafone UK is claiming the first in Europe in the 2.6 GHz TDD band.

The unpaired spectrum is underused in Europe and many other regions, but will be an important source of affordable capacity for mobile data in future, and deployments in China, the US and elsewhere are creating a wide ecosystem for TD-LTE in the bands between 2.3 GHz and 2.6 GHz.

Vodafone ran its trial with Huawei on its commercial network in its Newbury, Berkshire headquarters, and it claimed significant improvements in spectrum efficiency and network capacity. The UK carrier is already deploying 4×4 MIMO commercially in some areas and is now testing 8×8 MIMO. Kye Prigg, head of mobile networks at the MNO, recently told FierceWireless Europe: “We’re very interested in MIMO and the efficiency gains that that could bring for us.”

To continue reading the article: click here. (

Tower threat to pristine lakeside

09 Nov 2016

MONTHS of protest against an Optus phone tower being built near a pristine lakeside section of Palmerston appear to have been fruitless after the project was granted a green light.

The 22.4m telecommunications tower pegged to be constructed at the edge of Gunn’s Sanctuary Lakes sparked the fighting spirit of the community when it was announced earlier this year. Many against the project, including the now MLA for Brennan Tony Sievers, raised their objections with the Development Consent Authority and Optus itself, but to no avail. Mr Sievers said Optus had been provided with other site options which had “considerably less impact on the local amenity however Optus has refused to consider the alternative, and have proceeded successfully through the DCA”.

”The DCA has now advised there is no third party right of appeal under the Planning Act regulations,” he said.

“I have also been told a civil action would be costly and in all likelihood, unsuccessful.

“This is very disappointing and discouraging.

To continue reading the article: click here. (

Ericsson and Qualcomm successfully test Cat-M1 for Telstra

05 Nov 2016

With Ericsson Networks’ Software 17A and Qualcomm’s MDM9206 LTE modem, the door "opens" for device makers and leading telcos including Telstra to "deliver innovative and new IoT-enabled devices".

Ericsson and Qualcomm report successfully executing "network and device testing of data communications on Cat M1 with the MDM9206 modem, designed to support LTE Cat-M1 for Internet of Things (IoT) applications and services, utilising the 700 MHz band (Band 28)".

Noting the "commercial technical milestone", the achievement saw the successful interoperability testing of the MDM9206 modem at Ericsson headquarters in Sweden, witnessed by executives from Telstra.

Here are some of Cat-M1’s key features:

  • Extended coverage with better link budget (up to 15 dB, compared to Cat-1) allowing LTE signals to penetrate through more walls and floors to reach devices deployed deep indoors or in remote locations;
  • Up to 10 years of battery life for typical delay-tolerant, low-throughput applications utilizing Power Save Mode and Extended DRX; and
  • Lower complexity and cost due to single antenna and half duplex operation, up to 375 kbps.

To continue reading the article: click here. (

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