Friday, 21 July 2017 11:42

Optus says it will spend $1b on regional mobile services Featured


Australia's second largest telco Optus says it will spend $1 billion to update and expand its mobile network in regional areas by the end of next year as part of an ongoing investment programme that has spent more than $3.6 billion on its mobile network since 2015.

The money will be used to:

  • build 500 new mobile sites across regional and remote parts of Australia, including 114 sites under the federal government’s Mobile Blackspots Programme;
  • complete the 4G upgrade programme which will upgrade more than 1800 sites from 3G to 4G technology;
  • add additional 4G capacity to more than 200 sites, delivering improved customer experience during periods of high usage;
  • continue to roll out satellite small cell technology, which provides mobile voice and data services to remote areas of Australia, building on Optus’ existing rollout of 30 small cell sites across regional Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory; and
  • meet the cost of spectrum licences in regional areas.

Optus chief executive Allen Lew claimed the investment was among the single biggest in regional mobile infrastructure in Australia.

"Optus’ funding is earmarked to expand coverage and improve overall network performance for residents, businesses, and our wholesale partners," he said. "It will also help build the network resilience that is critical to supporting public safety and emergency services during natural disasters.

“Optus is building out its mobile network in the places where people live, work and travel to ensure they can lead a vibrant online life. Importantly, we are boosting the mobile network to provide better download speeds for data-hungry applications such as video streaming."

As part of the investment, Optus says it will spend $4.5 million in Tamworth and the surrounding areas to build 16 new sites at Calala, Tamworth CBD, East Piper Street, Emerald Hill, Carroll, Curlewis, Gunnedah, Tamworth / Oxley Vale, Attunga, Duri, Hallsville, Piallamore, Moonbi, Barraba Central, Bendemeer and Kingswood. Nine sites are being built jointly with another carrier.

“Regional communities rely on a strong mobile network to support their key industries, and to deliver critical services like health care and education. Through this investment, Optus will help propel regional businesses into national and international markets by providing network reliability; high speed connectivity; and advanced technologies such as cloud and cyber security services that industries need to thrive and grow," Lew said.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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