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New towers set to improve mobile coverage

18 Feb 2017

OPTUS has talked up a $7 million commitment to the region with plans underway to build 13 new towers between Redridge and Avondale and out to Bargara.

Optus state manager Mark O'Shea said the investment would improve 3G and 4G mobile coverage across Bundaberg and the Wide Bay Burnett region for residents and small business operators.

"We understand the need to consistently improve mobile coverage and provide faster mobile internet download services for people living, working and visiting Bundaberg,” he said.

"We recently completed work to build a new tower at Bundaberg West which has improved coverage at the hospital.

"Planning is underway to build 13 new towers across the region at Bundaberg Airport, Bargara Lakes, Bundaberg Tafe, Goodwood Rd, Redridge North, Kepnock, Alloway, Avoca, Gooburrum North, Innes Park, Kalkie, Apple Tree Creek and Avondale.

"These new towers will benefit motorists with improved coverage along Goodwood Rd and Bundaberg-Lowmead Rd.

"Commuters alike will also enjoy improved coverage and faster mobile download speeds when travelling on the train along the North Coast Railway and at the airport.”

As part of the $7 million investment Optus is working with the Queensland State and Federal governments to build two sites under the mobile blackspots program.

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Mobile coverage: Residents call for action sooner rather than later

18 Feb 2017

Northern Grampians residents have spoken in favour of regulated national roaming which could see Telstra, Optus and Vodafone sharing their networks.

The move would ensure residents can pick up a signal from the nearest tower, regardless of which telco built it.

Landsborough resident and Glenkara Vineyard manager Ian O’Brien said anything to improve mobile service in the area would be supported.

“We would support anything that would make our lives that little bit easier,” he said.

“It would be a big help to everyone in the district, we definitely get used to living without reception in Landsborough, but it’s time we see some action sooner rather than later.”

Member for Mallee Andrew Broad also spoke out in favour of regulated national roaming.

“I think if we are going to prepare for the future, we need to ensure that if you are driving down the road and your phone can pick up a Telstra tower, it does; if it can pick up an Optus tower, it does; if it can pick up a Vodafone tower, it does,” he said.

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Fed up of blackspots in Beachmere

18 Feb 2017

SINCE the dawn of technology, the Palm Lakes Beachmere Sands Retirement Village has resided in the middle of a telecommunication blackspot, but that's about to change thanks to a little help from 75-year-old Pauline Holehouse.

After years of trying to get something done, Ms Holehouse started a petition that garnered more than 200 signatures and was submitted to Longman MP Susan Lamb's office.

"I've lived in Beachmere Sands Retirement Village for eight years and always had terrible reception with mobile phones,” she said.

"I'd made many complaints as had other people, but the only offer from Telstra was to buy an aerial, but I said, 'come off it, I pay for my phone and we're so close to a major city, we should be getting reception.

"It's a major problem because we're all over the age of 60 and when you get appointments from your doctor or the hospital, they come through text message.”

Minister for Regional Communications Fiona Nash said she would honour what was an election promise by former Longman MP Wyatt Roy at the last election to build a new tower during round three of the Mobile Black Spot Program.

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Netgear Nighthawk M1 Mobile Router Review: Dreaming of Gigabit

14 Feb 2017

When Telstra, Ericsson, Qualcomm and Netgear got together recently to launch a new product we knew it was going to be something special.  And the expectations created from the launch of what Telstra is calling GigabitLTE are high.

I’ve been testing the all-new Netgear Nighthawk M1 mobile router for a little while now, in optimal conditions and regional Australia and I think what we have here is the best portable hotspot on the market – worthy of the more fitting name – Mobile Router.

Remember the tests and demos Telstra did where speeds in excess of 800 or 900Mpbs were achieved.  Those were essentially lab tests.  The real world is a few pegs down, but still super impressive.

Telstra told us at the launch that in real-world conditions you’d expect more like 300-350Mpbs downloads at best, with 150Mpbs upload speeds.

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Telstra should use landline and payphone money to build new mobile towers in the Wimmera: Andrew Broad

14 Feb 2017

MEMBER for Mallee Andrew Broad has called on Telstra to use its fixed-line phone savings to help improve mobile reception for grain farmers.

Mr Broad told Parliament on Monday that Telstra was saving up to $100 million thanks to the National Broadband Network’s plan to replace landline phones.

“Right across the electorate of Mallee we have had a wonderful harvest. There is grain everywhere. We are now harvesting the table grapes,” Mr Broad said.

“One thing that was evident across the harvest was people's inability to make a mobile phone call.

“This is a safety issue; this is a tourism issue; this is about people wanting to access data whilst they are trying to sit there and get their harvest off.”

Mr Broad accused Telstra of contributing to the problem by not building mobile phone towers off its own bat in Mallee.

“The argument that Telstra puts forward that they have to make a profit in the city, and therefore they are going to build towers in the bush does not ring true,” Mr Broad said.

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Telstra's Gateway Frontier Modem Gives You A 4G Backup For Your ADSL Or NBN

14 Feb 2017

It seems like the days of actual internet outages are coming to an end. Telstra's new Gateway Frontier modem router will give you 4G wireless internet while you wait for your NBN or other wired connection to be installed, and in the case of a wired network outage it'll automatically switch over to its backup 4G to keep you connected.

Telstra's New Frontier Gateway Modem Includes A 4G SIM For Backup Internet

Telstra's calling it the world's first "all-in-one" modem. Once purchased and plugged in at the user's home, it'll connect to Telstra's 4G network within a couple of minutes, and give them access to the 'net until such time as a proper, wired, higher-speed internet connection is hooked up. That same 4G connection will kick in as a backup if the wired network fails, too, and Telstra says it'll also come in handy for when you're moving house.

Up to 20 wireless devices can be connected simultaneously using the Frontier's fast 802.11ac, 4x4 MIMO Wi-Fi. The router, developed in conjuction with Aussie design consultancy Design + Industry, is also meant to look attractive enough that you'll be happy to keep it out in your living room or a public area rather than hidden away in a cupboard — likely with poor 4G reception.

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Radiation at Torrens Creek tower a worry

14 Feb 2017

TORRENS  Creek residents are worried a new 35m Telstra tower in the town is too close to housing and could pose a health hazard.

Residents Peter Noreiks and Wendy Leung say their homes in the town east of Hughenden are too close to the tower and that it could give off radiation that may affect health.

Ms Leung, who lives 15m from where the tower will stand in Torrens St, is mother to Sean, 10, and Benjamin, 1.

“I’m worried about the constant radio waves and the ­affect they might have on our health,” she said.

Mr Noreiks, who lives across the road from where the tower will stand on Telstra-owned land, said he was worried about the health aspects.

He said there were other homeowners nearby who had similar concerns.

“We would like them to put it on a ridge 2km to the west of town. That would be common sense. It would give them a greater phone coverage area along the Flinders Highway to the east and west, and south down the Aramac road,” Mr Noreiks said.

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Yerong Creek farmer forced to drive five kilometres to take calls

11 Feb 2017

Life on the land is as tough as it comes.

Our farming heroes have to endure the relentless wrath of Mother Nature.

But a Yerong Creek farmer has been facing another battle – limited phone coverage.

Graham Mott’s property sits about seven kilometres east of Yerong Creek on the Mangoplah Road and is in a mobile phone blackspot.

Usually, the third generation farmer relies on his landline to keep his business running, but a lightning strike during an electrical storm last Sunday wiped it out.

“There was a flash and a loud crack,” Mr Mott said.

“The phone sizzled and when I went to turn the phone off, it was hot.”

The farmer contacted Telstra the following morning by travelling five kilometres up the road where he could get a mobile phone signal.

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Mobile black spots linger across Tasmania despite phone tower plan

10 Feb 2017

MORE than 18 months after 31 Tasmanian mobile phone black spots were identified there is yet to be a new mobile phone tower in service.

The Federal Government’s Mobile Blackspot Program nominated 14 sites to be upgraded in a partnership with Telstra in June 2015. Vodafone was in partnership at 17 sites.

Sites at Melrose, Rossarden, Mole Creek and Nunamara were targeted to be on air last year, Telstra said, but they are still months away. A site at Sisters Beach is targeted to be on air by the middle of this year.

Federal Member for Braddon Justine Keay told Parliament the Federal Government was failing to deliver on its commitments.

“Sisters Beach residents have been waiting for two years since funding was allocated,” she said.

“Mobile phone reception is critical in bushfire prone communities like Sisters Beach, and yet they are still waiting for a mobile phone signal.”

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Optus profit falls amid tight mobile market

09 Feb 2017

Singtel-Optus continues to bear the brunt of a tighter mobile market and the ongoing impact of reduced mobile termination rates, with the telco’s earnings and net profit both taking a hit in the third quarter.

Optus posted a 5 per cent drop in its EBITDA for the quarter ending 31 December, to $650 million, from $685 million in the same period last year. Net profit for the quarter was down 17.3 per cent on a year-on-year basis, from $227m to $188m, with Optus citing device repayment plan service credits and one-off items in the corresponding quarter last year as the key factors behind the drop.

Operating revenue for the quarter declined 9.3 per cent as the reduction of industry mobile termination rates mandated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission continues to take a toll. From January 1 2016, mobile termination rates declined from 3.6 cents per minute to 1.7 cents per minute for calls, and 7.5 cents to 0.03 cents for SMSs.

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