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Optus apologises to customers after mobile, broadband outage

06 Jul 2017

Several Optus customers have reported outages on mobile data and broadband across Australia. Users have taken to social media to express dismay.

There were complaints about a lack of service in Victoria and the ACT. Some customers were also unable to check their network status on the Optus website, where an error message popped up whenever they entered their postcodes.

“Optus appear to have a major outage effecting NBN, ADSL and Mobile across NSW,” one Twitter user wrote. Many reported outages on Tuesday night at about 9: 30 pm Australian eastern standard time.

The telecommunications company was quick to apologise to customers after its network’s G mobile data and home broadband failed. An Optus spokesperson said technicians are currently investigating the cause of the interruption, appreciating their customers’ understanding.

A spokesperson for the company has confirmed through iTWire that customers in NSW, Victoria and the ACT may have experienced interruptions in 4G mobile data and home broadband services. “All data services were restored at approximately 10.30pm the same night."

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End of June Update

06 Jul 2017

Telstra seems to be ramping things up right now with a whopping 30 New sites this fortnight as well as 66 site upgrades. The new sites were mostly rural with 10 each for WA and NSW. Telstra continues its focus on 4G700 but also added quite a few 4G2600 sites as well which is great to see finally. Telstra continues to propose large numbers of sites with 4G900 however that rollout hasn’t really gotten underway yet.

Optus appears to have taken its foot off the gas with only 14 new sites as well as 37 site upgrades. Optus also made 99 proposal upgrades with 4G1800 featuring heavily in those, and I would expect to see Optus' 4G1800 rollout kicking off soon. Optus' current focus remains 4G700 and 4G2600 with Optus' new sites being deployed across rural and metro areas with Brisbane metro getting 4 sites. Optus also proposed 11 new sites across rural NT all of which appear to be satellite based small sites as they are 3G only.

Vodafone added 6 sites to its network and upgraded a further 30 with 4G2100 being the main focus but some 4G850 is still being deployed. A few sites also were also upgraded from 3G2100 only sites as well so Vodafone is really only doing general improvements to its network nothing more.

NBN activated 18 new sites as well as upgraded a further 9. NBN also made a further 10 new site proposals most of which were on existing telco sites and most were also quite rural.

The low band 700mhz 4G gap between Optus and Telstra has decreased by 13 sites as Telstra plods along. Optus is ahead of Telstra however in 4G700 by 1085 sites.

Outback Queensland town of Windorah reflects on six months of mobile phone reception

04 Jul 2017

To most of us, the ping of a text message is a sound that has dictated life for years.

But in a small outback Queensland town 1,200 kilometres west of Brisbane, the mobile phone is a new development.

Windorah "entered the twenty-first century" in late November when mobile services were switched on as part of the $21 million Barcoo–Diamantina Fibre Optic Project, which was jointly funded by three levels of government.

Six months on, locals are reflecting on life with mobile reception.

"I kind of enjoyed being disconnected from the outside world to some degree," said senior constable Rob Edwards, who is the sole officer in the Windorah station.

"It was like living in a little bubble."

But from a policing perspective, Constable Edwards said mobile phone reception had been an important upgrade.

"We do get a lot of tourists coming through here and some of them are quite elderly, and there are times where people want to keep in contact with those that are travelling," he said.

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Telstra must increase spending to protect mobile, at shareholders' expense: UBS

04 Jul 2017

TPG's proposed mobile network is only a "benign" threat to Telstra, but will introduce competitive pressures that may force the incumbent to increase spending to retain its core mobile customer base, a UBS analyst note has warned. 

This additional spending may see shareholders receiving less than anticipated of the billions Telstra expects to receive from the national broadband network roll out, according to analyst Eric Choi. 

"We think Telstra should earmark a portion of excess free cash flows (including potential proceeds from any NBN receipt securitisation) to protect the [mobile] core," the UBS note to clients stated. 

"We think the market is underestimating the potential for investments in the 'core' to feature prominently in Telstra's upcoming Capital Allocation Review." 

Telstra shares closed at $4.30 on Friday, a 1.6 per cent decline on the previous day. 

With collective earnings of $7.6 billion, Australia's mobile market is worth twice as much as the fixed market, according to UBS. Telstra has 17.4 million mobile customers, Optus 9.72 million and Vodafone 5.56 million.  

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Tathra coverage on the mobile blackspot hit list

04 Jul 2017

While fixing Tathra’s unreliable mobile phone coverage is on the government’s agenda, business is still being affected by the issue.

A Telstra spokesperson said the company is creating 119 new mobile base stations as part of the government’s Mobile Black Spot Program. Tathra is not on the immediate recipient list but has been identified as a “priority location”.

The list of locations scheduled to receive a tower under round two of the program was released in May, with the government allocating $60million.

A further $60million has been committed to specific priority locations that did not receive a bid from a telecommunications company in rounds one and two, with a competitive funding process to allocate funding expected to begin later this year.

Meanwhile, Tathra Beach House Apartments’ Rob White said a range of businesses are regularly being affected.

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Golspie black spot tower fix

04 Jul 2017

Residents and businesses in Golspie are benefiting from new and improved mobile coverage on Australia’s largest mobile network under the Mobile Black Spot program.

Telstra Area General Manager Chris Taylor was joined on Friday’s opening by Federal Member for Hume Angus Taylor, State Member for Goulburn Pru Goward and Upper Lachlan Shire Council Mayor Brian McCormack for the official launch in Golspie.

The area is one of 577 mobile coverage black spots across regional and rural Australia benefiting from expanded 3G/4G mobile coverage provided by Telstra through the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot program.

Telstra Area General Manager Chris Taylor said the expansion of mobile coverage in the area was another example of Telstra’s ongoing commitment to regional and rural Australia.

“This is a significant moment for our customers in Golspie who have had their calls answered for better mobile coverage,” Mr Taylor said.

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Mobile phone service success for Sisters Beach

04 Jul 2017

Reliable mobile phone service has been an issue at Sisters Beach for as long as the handheld devices have been available. 

But residents, businesses and visitors to the region will now benefit from new and improved mobile coverage at one of the North-West Coast’s top holiday destinations. 

Telstra and the Federal Government have worked together to fund the project under the Mobile Black Spot Program with a new mobile network tower activated at Sisters Beach last week.

Jono Vincent has lived at Sisters Beach for most of his life and said residents were thrilled with the faster internet speeds and improved phone service. 

The local attended a celebration held at the Pear Tree Cafe on Thursday and said it would have a big impact on his work life.

“I’m a tradie so I find working around the town is a lot harder when you don’t have phone service,” Mr Vincent said.  

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Northern Territory phone black spots costing lives

29 Jun 2017

MOBILE phone black spots will cost lives, paramedics have warned amid a double fatal at one of the Territory’s most popular tourist spots.

A Litchfield National Park mobile phone black spot left the survivors of the car crash, which killed Bangladeshi student Irfan Munna and Filipino national Risa Caramay, unable to make a desperate Triple 0 call on Sunday.

Last year, more than 360,000 people visited Litchfield National Park, which is only just over an hour’s drive from the Territory’s capital city of Darwin.

Yet the majority of the national park remains out of mobile phone range. Friends of the stricken pair were forced to wave down passing motorists in a bid to raise the alarm as their friends burned in a firey wreck on Litchfield Park Rd.

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Telstra proposed Corunna mobile tower to improve coverage

29 Jun 2017

Telstra has applied to build a new mobile phone tower at Corunna south of Narooma on Lot 139 of Corunna Road.

Telstra area general manager Chris Taylor said from the proposed location, it was expected parts of Corunna, Tilba and Mystery Bay will all benefit from the new coverage, pending council approval.

“Our overriding objective in participating in the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program is to maximise new coverage in the area,” Mr Taylor said.

“Expanding coverage to the region will allow the community to keep in contact with family and friends and run their businesses more effectively, whether by speaking on the phone or using a range of online services over our fast mobile internet network.

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What's Going To Happen With Australia's '5G Band'?

26 Jun 2017

The 3.6 GHz band is talked about as where our 5G network will live in the future - but it's not a done and dusted deal. There are existing services using this frequency that want to stay in business, after all.

So the Australian Communications and Media Authority is opening the doors for community and industry consultation on the band's usage.

"In line with our established mobile broadband strategy, we want to make sure Australia is well placed to take advantage of the emergence of 5G technologies both in the cities and the regions," said ACMA acting Chairman, Richard Bean.

"The ACMA acknowledges the strong interest in the 3.6 GHz band for 5G and other wide area broadband uses, while also recognising that there are existing services and licensees using these frequencies that want to continue operating."

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