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Optus secures $60 million to extend mobile networks in rural Australia

By Sara Barker, Mon 5 Dec 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Optus is planning to build 114 new mobile sites across Australia as part of the Federal Government's Mobile Black Spots Program.

The Program aims to improve mobile coverage across regional and rural Australia. It is in its second round of funding and is attempting to attract $60 million. Optus has secured $26.4 million in Federal and State Government funding, and will co-contribute an extra $36.4 million.

“Optus is pleased to be working with Federal and State Governments on the delivery of mobile services in regional and remote parts of Australia.  We thank all Governments for investing in such a crucial program which together with Optus’ ongoing mobile investment program, will ensure those living in remote and regional areas have access to reliable mobile coverage," explains David Epstein, Optus vice president, Corporate and Regulatory Affairs.

The Optus contract also includes funding for 65 mobile base stations and 49 satellite small cells. The company states it continually invests in its mobile markets, and Epstein believes network strength is a key component of its business.

“We have always placed significant value on network investment, particularly for regional areas seeking choice and competition. In the last financial year we invested close to $1.6 billion in strengthening networks,” he says.

The Optus 4G network spans 5479 mobile sites and reaches 95.7% of the Australian population. THe company has also upgraded 4400 of these sites to the 700 MHz spectrum.

The company has also poured $196 million in for regional licences on the 1800 MHz spectrum in various states. Already the company has launched services in Victoria and New South Wales.

“Real investment in regional and remote telecommunications services is the only sustainable way to improve competition, and strength and breadth of coverage in regional Australia. Optus has embarked on an extensive regional network investment program and today’s Mobile Black Spots announcement will supplement additional investment in regional telecommunications," Epstein concludes.

Optus will build mobile base stations and small cells in the following states:

Using the funding, Optus will build:

  • 23 sites in WA
  • 13 sites in NT
  • 18 sites in NSW
  • 27 sites in QLD
  • 2 sites in TAS
  • 15 sites in SA
  • 16 sites in VIC
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