Australia’s mobile leader Telstra announced today it plans to expand mobile coverage to more than 400 remote communities that currently have no coverage.
Through the government’s mobile black-spot programme, Telstra, with support from federal, state and local governments, will invest AUD340 million ($263 million) over the next three years to build 429 3G/4G towers as well as install 250 4G data-only small cells in remote towns.
Telstra, which has a 51 per cent market share, has committed AUD165 million to the project, while the federal government will contribute AUD94.8 million. Mike Wright, Telstra’s group managing director, said it has worked with the Victorian, New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmanian and Western Australian state governments as well as multiple local governments to attract tens of millions of dollars in additional funding.
Coverage will be expanded to places like Leeuwin in Western Australia, Cape Otway in Victoria, Coffee Camp in New South Wales, Widgee in Queensland, Lulworth in Tasmania, Imanpa in Northern Territory and Fregon in South Australia.
Of the 250 small cells to be installed, 50 will be added in Queensland as part of the operator’s partnership with the Queensland government. Wright said that in the initial stage small-cell technology only provides data services, however, it is working on implementing voice-over-LTE technology.
Telstra said its mobile network reaches 99.3 per cent of the population and covers 2.4 million square kilometres of the Australian landmass.
Nearly half of its 15.5 million connections are 4G.