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Mid September Update

22 Sep 2017

Telstra continues unchanged this fortnight with 15 new sites 8 alone in WA as Telstra continues to deploy its blackspot sites, Telstra also proposed 13 new sites. Telstra also upgraded a further 87 sites with 57 alone in NSW, 4G700 continues to be the focus. However, Telstra also proposed upgrades to a further 150 sites, mostly in NSW with proposals for 4G900 and 4G2600 indicating a wider rollout of those bands including their new IOT (Internet of Things) network on the 4G900 band.

Optus again continues its new tower deployment with a further 28 new sites mostly in the eastern states.  Optus appears to have slowed down on their site upgrades only upgrading a further 39 sites however with 75 additional proposals Optus appears to be gearing up to widely deploy 4G1800 in rural areas and 4G2600 in metro with a spattering of 4G2100.

After a promising boost in the last report Vodafone has dropped off again with 10 new sites and 15 upgrades. Vodafone continues to deploy mostly 4G2100 with no mention of their 4G700 rollout thus far. All Vodafone’s new sites apart from one blackspot site was in conjunction with Optus.

NBN activated 12 new sites and upgraded a further 9 sites. NBN is still proposing new sites with this fortnight adding 1 new rural site proposal.

The low band 700mhz 4G gap between Optus and Telstra has seen an even bigger change than last time with the gap narrowing by a further 58 sites. Optus appears to have completed the bulk of their 4G700 rollout, however Optus is still ahead of Telstra in 4G700 by 993 sites but that gap will close very quickly if this rate continues. Telstra may catch Optus sometime around Q2 next year at this rate.

PennyTel switches mobile network from Vodafone to Telstra 4G

21 Sep 2017

Mobile virtual network operator PennyTel is switching from Vodafone to Telstra’s 4G network and encouraging users to choose new plans and replace their SIM cards.

The new plans will include unlimited calls and SMS and more data, while the $0 monthly plans will be phased out and the 2G network will also be shut down as part of the move. The voice over internet protocol (VoiP) service remains unaffected.

As part of a promotion, customers who migrate their plans to the new network will get 50 percent off their first three months.

Customers that do not migrate, cancel or port out their service within 30 days after receiving the first notification will have their service suspended and their phone number quarantined.

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NT govt spends 'millions' moving telco cables

21 Sep 2017

State agencies decry sloppy rollouts.

The Northern Territory government has been left “millions” of dollars out of pocket protecting or relocating poorly-placed telecommunications cables installed near its roads.

It is one of several state and territory agencies to condemn plans to make it even easier for telcos to install equipment and cables on or near government-owned assets, such as roads and bridges.

Others to raise concerns include NSW Roads and Maritime Services, NSW Transport and VicRoads.

Together, they accuse telcos of compromising the safety of critical infrastructure and call for greater oversight in the process rather than a further relaxation of rules around what equipment telcos can install outside of local and state planning laws.

The NT’s Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics revealed at least 15 instances where it had been forced to shell out “millions” in taxpayer funds to move telecommunications equipment installed around roadways.

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Telstra quietly switches on internet of things network

21 Sep 2017

Telstra quietly switched on its internet of things network last month, which the telco claimed was already larger than its 4G network.

The network was upgraded with long-time partner Ericsson to enable CAT-M1 devices, a technology that allows low-power, wide-area technology to connect to licensed spectrum.

CAT-M1 devices can run on a single battery for years and are suitable for mobility, voice support and moderate bitrates in the order of hundreds of Kbps, such as vehicle telematics, asset tracking, consumer and healthcare wearables and smart electricity metering.

Telstra’s IoT network covers three million square kilometres across Australia and 99 percent of the population.

Brendon Riley, Telstra group executive of global enterprise and services, said the telco’s IoT network may possibly be the largest in the world.

“We’re already strong today, particularly in logistics. Today, if we look at everything we’ve got connected across logistics and meters, there are about 2.1 million devices that are connected to the IoT network,” he said, during the opening keynote of Telstra Vantage in Melbourne.

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Boost To Mobile Coverage In Esperance

20 Sep 2017

Mobile coverage in the greater Esperance region is expected to improve with nine new sites to be activated to prevent black spots.

Representatives from the local, state and federal governments as well as Telstra were on hand to launch sites in Scaddan West, Dalyup, Dalyup North, Beaumont and Fisheries Road between Condingup and Neridup.

Four more sites in Grass Patch East, Mt Burdett, Merivale and Neridup will be up and going in the coming weeks.

These sites are part of over 180 black spots to be rectified across regional and rural Western Australia.

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New telecommunications tower for Sulphur Creek

20 Sep 2017

A new Telstra telecommunications tower will be built at Sulphur Creek to improve mobile services in the area after Central Coast Council approved the development application on Monday night.

The mono pole tower will be built at 39 Creamery Road, Sulphur Creek and will measure 31.3 metres including antenna attachments.

The tower will be funded under the federal government Black Spot Program.

The site is zoned as rural resource land and has a low to moderate landslip risk.

In the planning report, Telstra stated the new tower would provide capacity relief for the existing Telstra site in Sulphur Creek and would boost mobile internet speeds in the area.

Four representations opposing the development were submitted to council.

Objections to the proposed tower included perceived health risks due to electromagnetic radiation, visual impact on the landscape and negative effects on future tourism and land values in the area.

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Major infrastructre planned to tackle mobile black spots

19 Sep 2017

A MAJOR mobile phone provider is moving to improve reception coverage on a notorious stretch of highway in the Somerset region known as a mobile phone black spot.

Somerset Regional Council has approved for a new Optus telecommunications tower to be built at Moore in response to "significant coverage problems" on the D'Aguilar Hwy.

The proposal, in the Benarkin State Forest, is part of a nationwide rollout to improve mobile coverage and access to enhanced services via the Optus mobile network in rural areas across Australia.

While some tree clearing is needed to make way for the 60m high tower, a certified spotter and catcher will be on site to make arrangements for displaced furry friends and koala exclusion panelling will be installed on the facility boundary fencing to prevent koala access to the compound.

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Sulphur Creek telecommunications tower proposal

19 Sep 2017

A new telecommunications tower at Sulphur Creek will be discussed at the Central Coast Council meeting on Monday night.

The proposed location for the new Telstra tower is 39 Creamery Road, Sulphur Creek.

The 30 metre high mono pole tower would be funded under the Federal Government Black Spot Program.

The new tower would provide capacity relief to the existing Telstra site and enable the company to deliver higher speed 4G mobile phone services.

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Superloop grows fixed wireless footprint with NuSkope buy

14 Sep 2017

Superloop is shaping as a major player in the fixed wireless space, spending up to $12 million on South Australian network operator NuSkope and outlining ambitions to offer millimetre-wave broadband.

Serial entrepreneur Bevan Slattery’s connectivity venture Superloop now has both BigAir and NuSkope in its fold.

BigAir’s fixed wireless Ethernet services target business users with symmetrical speed offerings; NuSkope connects about 10,000 homes, schools and businesses in the Adelaide metropolitan area and its fringes which were traditionally under-served.

Superloop said it had offered over $10 million for NuSkope, consisting of an initial $7 million in cash and $3 million in shares, and further cash payments split over 2018/19 that are dependent on future revenues.

The total consideration is expected to be somewhere just under $12 million.

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Australian regulator fast-tracking upcoming 5G auction at super-high frequency

13 Sep 2017

Australia might be getting access to 5G data speeds sooner than expected with the communications regulator fast-tracking preparations to auction the necessary spectrum off to mobile network operators.

Speeding up the long process may bring forward revenue for the government, but also the capital expenditure costs for mobile network operators like Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and TPG.

Spectrum auctions have reaped at least $3.5 billion since 2013, including world-record prices spent on lower frequencies, which are more valuable to Australian operators because they carry signals further and with better penetration.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority on Monday revealed it is speeding up the process to release and sell part of the spectrum for 5G services - at the 26 gigahertz (GHz) frequency - which is currently reserved for fixed communications, space-to-earth signals and radio astronomy.

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