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End Of November Update

02 Dec 2017

Optus continues its spectacular deployment rate with a further 41 new sites in the past fortnight, with all states apart from ACT getting in on the action. Most of these sites were rural based locations with 6 being small cell sites. Optus also managed to upgrade an additional 150 sites with the vast majority in mainland eastern states, 4G2100 was the main focus but a few rural areas got 4G1800.

Telstra continues to plod along with 12 new sites and a further 54 site upgrades. The new sites were mostly rural and the upgrades were mostly metro with 4G700 and 4G2600 continuing to be the main focus. Telstra also continue to propose many more 4G900 IOT sites as well.

Vodafone also added 12 new sites to their network this fortnight with an additional 37 site upgrades. As always with Vodafone most of the action is happening in metro areas and the main focus continues to be 4G2100 but there was a spattering of other bands also with some 4G850 towers still being deployed, no further 4G700 proposals either.

TPG is unchanged this fortnight.

NBN also added 7 new sites as well as 3 new site proposals, as well as 4 site upgrades and 11 proposals for site upgrades. Outer metro areas also continue to be the main focus now for new sites.

The low band 700mhz 4G gap between Optus and Telstra has decreased by 6 sites as Telstra seems unable to make a huge dint in Optus' lead, with Optus deploying new sites quicker than Telstra can upgrade existing ones. Optus is still ahead of Telstra in 4G700 by 1009 sites.

Regional WA not in round three of Mobile Black Spot Program

01 Dec 2017

The Esperance region is not missing out on improved communications capability despite missing out on the latest round of federal government funding, according to O’Connor MP Rick Wilson.

This comes after WA regional development minister Alannah Mactiernan lashed out at the federal government for only selecting one regional WA site for its mobile black spot funding.

“Our GST share is just the tip of the iceberg: now WA is now being ripped off by the Federal Government on mobile black spot funding,” she said.

However, a spokesperson for Federal Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said WA received highest number of new or improved base stations in the country under the first two rounds of the Mobile Black Spot Program.

“The regional electorates of O’Connor and Durack will receive 175 new mobile towers under rounds one and two of the program, this represents 23 per cent of all towers under the first two rounds,” the spokesperson said.

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Seeing red on black spots

01 Dec 2017

WA has been short-changed in the latest round of Mobile Black Spot Funding, drawing criticism from Agriculture and Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan.

The $60 million-a-year black-spot program, driven by the Federal Government, aims to improve mobile coverage along major regional transport routes, in small communities and in priority locations.

But only seven WA locations were selected of 106 available nationwide in the latest round, announced last week.

Of these, just one — Serpentine/Keysbrook — is in a regional area. The other six, Bickley, Bullsbrook, Chidlow, Parkerville, Swan Valley and Lake Clifton, are on the urban fringe.

The WA Government contributed more than $53 million to the program over the past three years — $20 million more than the next highest contributing State.

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Telstra's 4G technology arriving in rural town

30 Nov 2017

A new tower has been proposed for the town south-west of Ipswich.

Telstra plans to build the mobile tower, described as a "small cell" facility, along Rosevale-Aratula Rd.

A Telstra tower already exists on the block.

The new tower will introduce Telstra's 4G Technology to Rosevale. It will process data and can be used to make voice calls with a 4G phone that has VOLTE capability.

The proposed upgrade is out for public consultation until December 14.

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New tower commissioned

30 Nov 2017

CATHY McGowan (MHR, Indi) and Telstra representatives have promised to continue to address mobile phone coverage issues in Alpine communities.

Officially launching Rosewhite’s new telephone tower last Wednesday, Ms McGowan and Telstra area general manager for east and south west Victoria Loretta Willaton said Kancoona would be one of the next blackspots to be assessed.

“Kancoona is on the list and has been since the start,” Ms McGowan said.

“I hope after today we can work out how that community, which was so badly affected by the Black Saturday bushfires (in 2009) can get the connectivity it needs.”

Ms Willaton said Telstra was looking at alternative options to provide a solution to phone coverage in one of the Kiewa Valley’s most isolated areas.

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'SOS only': Why not to rely on your mobile phone in an emergency

29 Nov 2017

People travelling in remote areas are being urged not to rely on the 'SOS' capacity of their mobile phones, following a string of rescues in which stranded travellers tried fruitlessly to call for help.

Mobile phones moved outside of mobile reception areas often display an 'SOS only' alert, suggesting a call or message could be sent in an emergency situation.

However Chris Althaus, from the Australia Mobile Telecommunications Association, said the system only allowed the phone to send a message via an alternative carrier, meaning there was no way of summoning help if you were outside the reach of all mobile phone services.

"'SOS only typically means that your phone is outside the coverage area of the service providers you're contracted to; however, if you are still within range of somebody's mobile network, you will still be able to make a triple-zero call," he said.

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Tower set to deliver stronger coverage to Far North mobile ‘black spot’

29 Nov 2017

OUTAGES could be a thing of the past for residents of a notorious Far North mobile “black spot”.

Telstra has lodged a development application with Cairns Regional Council for a new telecommunications tower to be built at Goldsborough, southwest of the city at the foot of the Gillies Range.

The proposal is for a 40m monopole tower to be constructed on council-owned land near Pannakin St.

A report prepared by Visionstream, on behalf of Telstra, says the tower will form an “integral component” in the enhancement of Goldsborough’s mobile service.

“The proposed works provide the community with reliable 4G access which in turn supports the various rural and tourist industries in the region and forms part of a wider plan to ensure reliable and accessible coverage during emergency situations such as bush fires,” it says.

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Ericsson: 1 billion 5G subscriptions in 2023 predicted, with huge mobile data surge

29 Nov 2017

5G is going to rock our IoT net-connected socks off, surpassing predictions, and will reach 20% of the global population in six years time, as mobile data traffic grows 8x though video and more, using 110 exabytes per month.

With a forecast of one billion 5G subscriptions for enhanced mobile broadband by 2023 being among the key statistics presented in the just-released November 2017 edition of the "Ericsson Mobility Report", the next six years will see amazing growth in 5G connectivity – as even better 5G starts arriving for the 80% of Planet Earth in the years thereafter.

We're also told that "LTE will be the dominant access technology by end of this year, driven by demand for improved user experience and faster networks", – especially with all that video content being viewed.

So, what's the detail Ericsson gave on the coming initial and ongoing 5G network deployment?

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Revealing the top mobile virtual network operators in Australia

28 Nov 2017

Mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) have re-emerged as the growth leaders in Australia for the first half of 2017.

The MVNO top performers were ALDImobile, amaysim and Kogan Mobile, according to research from Telsyte. That number is based on their net additions during the first half of the year.

The top four largest MVNOs are amaysim as number one followed by TPG, ALDImobile, and Vocus Group.

The analyst firm said Australians are looking for lower cost mobile plans, which led these MVNOs to register 200,000 new services in operation (SIO) collectively.

This figure saw the mobile network resellers beat the individual performance of Optus, Vodafone and Telstra, according Telsyte’s Australian Mobile Services Market Study FY2017.

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Government $1.9b sell-off may ignite digital bush “blackout”

25 Nov 2017

COMMUNICATIONS Minister Mitch Fifield has come under fire from regional wireless internet service providers for potentially allowing a public service to be sold-off to leave farmers and non-metropolitan Australians digitally disadvantaged.

Wireless Internet Service Provider Association of Australia (WISP-AU) President Michael Parnell said he understood the federal government was about to approve the $1.9 billion “fire-sale” of Australia’s 3.6 gigahertz spectrum (radio-wave frequency).

He also raised fears the Coalition was giving away too much legislative power to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to engineer the sell-off.

Mr Parnell said selling the 3.6g spectrum would force higher costs and slower speeds back onto regional consumers for the next decade, until the 7G service arrived.

He said it would also mean the latest farming machinery and equipment that’s 5G compatible wouldn’t work in Australia, lowering farm productivity.

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