New Mobile Towers Locations announced

Submitted: Saturday, Mar 23, 2019 at 06:55
ThreadID: 138013 Views:1887 Replies:4 FollowUps:13
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Round 4 of the Mobile Black Spot program due to be all completed by mid 2020.

Further details:


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Reply By: Member - shane r1 - Saturday, Mar 23, 2019 at 08:50

Saturday, Mar 23, 2019 at 08:50
That’s good info, I also see the majority are Telstra instillation’s . Some people think Optus are doing most of the fill in around the country, this shows otherwise.
Telstra has the most area covered for sure.
AnswerID: 624572

Follow Up By: Zippo - Saturday, Mar 23, 2019 at 14:25

Saturday, Mar 23, 2019 at 14:25
They are decided by tender, and in recent cycles of the program Optus have installed quite a number more than Telstra, especially in regional SA and NT. This has obviously "inspired" Telstra to tender more attractively to counter that.

You will note in that latest list the NT entries - 12 out of 12 are Optus.
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Follow Up By: Member - peter_mcc - Monday, Mar 25, 2019 at 09:36

Monday, Mar 25, 2019 at 09:36
I suspect it might depend on how close the towers are to other towers/infrastructure. As Zippo says all 12 NT towers are Optus (and all in the middle of nowhere)
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Follow Up By: Zippo - Monday, Mar 25, 2019 at 12:00

Monday, Mar 25, 2019 at 12:00
Peter, the existing infrastructure and backhaul considerations apply mainly with macro-cells (due to the bandwidth required to support the traffic volume they are capable of), while microcells have/deliver less bandwidth.

The driving force behind deciding where/what_price they will tender is the extent of strategic/marketing advantage they can gain over a competitor. The Oodnadatta Track is a perfect example of that - locals had been screaming for coverage for years and Optus saw an opening. Having their own satellite backhaul available (so no fibre/microwave needed) allowed Optus to trial their satellite-fed microcell scheme at Oodnadatta a few years back now (2015?) and then spread it through regional SA and NT. Caught Telstra on the back foot and now they are scrambling to catch up.

Yes, it's a PITA having to carry two SIMs when touring, but locals are just happy to have a service. These small communities are now "won" by whoever puts a service there first.
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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 23, 2019 at 10:38

Saturday, Mar 23, 2019 at 10:38
Are these small cells/macro cells 3g/4g or are they VoLTE?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think VoLTE is available in only the more recent handsets. And if you have bought a handset on line it may not have Australian firmware to support VoLTE, even if it has the hardware. That is the case with my Samsung S7 bought on line. It has the hardware, but the Vietnamese firmware version does not support VoLTE, though I do get data on LTE.

When I enter a Telstra small cell area I get a text from Telstra saying I'm in one of theirs, but I cannot make or take calls. But I have data.

AnswerID: 624574

Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Mar 23, 2019 at 11:41

Saturday, Mar 23, 2019 at 11:41
Frank, if you buy a smartphone from a particular carrier, the phone has the companys firmware loaded that enables VoLTE.

If you buy a smartphone online, your phone will need to have the firmware from your carrier loaded onto it, to enable you to utilise VoLTE.

Telstra VoLTE knowledge base is in the Whirlpool link below.

Telstra VoLTE

You can find out your smartphones capabilities (technical specifications) from GSM Arena.
Make sure you know your precise smartphone model number when checking specifications, because there are often up to 25 or 30 model variations, depending on the country/countries where that model is sold.

The specifications only show the bandwidth capabilities, GSM Arena will not show VoLTE capabilities, because that is dependent on firmware loaded after purchase.

GSM Arena

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 23, 2019 at 12:00

Saturday, Mar 23, 2019 at 12:00
Thanks Ron,
But what about these small cells? Are they 4g only, hence VoLTE or do they support 3g as well?
FollowupID: 898089

Follow Up By: mechpete - Saturday, Mar 23, 2019 at 13:18

Saturday, Mar 23, 2019 at 13:18
the old saying goes
ya get what ya pay for ,ya get for nothing
in this world cheers mechpete
FollowupID: 898090

Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Mar 23, 2019 at 14:02

Saturday, Mar 23, 2019 at 14:02
Frank, the answer to your question is, "it depends on the carrier who built the cell".

Possibly the greatest confusion in phone users minds is mobile phone cell type descriptions.

The Government and and major Telcos are in coalition to produce the Mobile Black Spot program - which is designed to fill in gaps in mobile phone coverage to assist emergency services, provide a better level of communication ability in remote regions, and to help remote-location businesses stay competitive, reduce their costs, and to reduce their isolation.

The vast majority of the Black Spot Program cells are full-sized Macrocells with full 4G and 3G capabilities.
The cell size is governed by the target market size, the availability and cost of the land acquisition, and the area that needs to be covered.

I think the link below provides a good description of the various types of cells.

Mobile Phone Cell types in Australia

Equinox's Black Spot Program link is not working due to his failure to insert the link properly - so here's the working link.

Mobile Black Spot Program

Perhaps a further useful link is the one below - the MBSP FAQ page.

Mobile Black Spot Program - FAQ

Cheers, Ron.
FollowupID: 898091

Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Mar 23, 2019 at 23:49

Saturday, Mar 23, 2019 at 23:49
Further to the above, the Telstra webpage below explains more about VoLTE, which Telstra call "HD calling".

Included on the bottom of the page is a list of handset models which are compatible with VoLTE, if they have the firmware loaded.

VoLTE or HD Calling explained - Telstra

Under Round 1 of the Mobile Black Spot programme, which started in 2015, Telstra says they installed up to 250 small cells, mostly in the small towns.

I wasn't aware that Telstra had installed so many small cells under this programme.
These Telstra small cells, which would basically only cover the town boundaries, provide only 4G data services and 4G HD Calling (VoLTE). They do not provide 3G services.

Telstra - The Mobile Black Spot programme - FAQ's

As a general indication, it appears if your smartphone is more than about 4 years old, it is not capable of handling VoLTE ("HD Calling"), and cannot be upgraded to VoLTE capability.

Cheers, Ron.
FollowupID: 898102

Reply By: Dion - Saturday, Mar 23, 2019 at 12:55

Saturday, Mar 23, 2019 at 12:55
Must be an important election coming.
AnswerID: 624579

Follow Up By: Zippo - Saturday, Mar 23, 2019 at 14:22

Saturday, Mar 23, 2019 at 14:22
It's nothing whatsoever to do with elections. These are recurrent programs that continue to roll out. But cynics will always chip in regardless.
FollowupID: 898094

Reply By: Member - Robert1660 - Saturday, Mar 23, 2019 at 20:53

Saturday, Mar 23, 2019 at 20:53
As a traveller what is becoming increasingly obvious is that you are needing to carry two SIM cards. Obviously a sat phone solves the problem but they are not an option for many travellers. Mobile phones outside of city or large towns should be carrier neutral. I do appreciate that this is the case with triple zero calls but possibly it should apply to all calls.
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 23, 2019 at 21:25

Saturday, Mar 23, 2019 at 21:25
I agree. The whole thing is run by computers. Other than bloody minded commercialism there is nothing to stop someone from roaming onto a different provider's network, making or taking a call and being charged a fee. (Not gouged, just a fair price)
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Follow Up By: Member - PhilD_NT - Monday, Mar 25, 2019 at 11:00

Monday, Mar 25, 2019 at 11:00
Frank, while I could agree that roaming on all networks would be a good thing, sort of like an NBN for mobiles, the words "bloody minded commercialism" is wrong. Decades ago people wanted competition with PMG/Telecom/Telstra, mostly from Capital City dwellers, no-one seriously questioned what that meant. Well this is it. Billions wasted on duplicated networks and buying up mobile frequency spectrum. Imagine the network coverage we could have had. Then again, with the outages that have at times afflicted various networks just imagine one of those outages taking out the whole country.
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Follow Up By: Charliektm400exc - Monday, Mar 25, 2019 at 18:59

Monday, Mar 25, 2019 at 18:59
I disagree. These cells are being paid for by the government, so really us through our taxes. No matter who installs the cell, all carriers should be able to use the cell, just at a premium.

Otherwise you get the ridiculous situation of go to this town and you need Telstra, and then go to the next town down the road and you need Optus.

As I said, we are paying for this, so we should all be able to some benefit from it.
FollowupID: 898127

Follow Up By: Member - Blue M - Thursday, Mar 28, 2019 at 16:04

Thursday, Mar 28, 2019 at 16:04
How did we survive 20 years ago.
In the so called outback it was 200k or better between phone boxes, then you may be lucky to get one that still worked, and had a pocket full of the right coins.
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