Vodafone is expanding its regional mobile network, having invested more than $9 million in 32 new mobile base stations that will sprout across New South Wales, Tasmania, Queensland and Western Australia.
The 32 new locations are in addition to the 70 sites Vodafone is building as part of round one of the Mobile Black Spot Programme in New South Wales, Tasmania, Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria.
The 32 site locations are as follows:
New South Wales – Coffs Harbour Park Beach, Coffs Harbour CBD, Coffs Harbour West, Toormina, Coffs Harbour Industrial, Coffs Harbour Jetty, Tamworth showgrounds, South Tamworth, West Tamworth, Taminda, Tamworth Golden Guitar, Coffs Harbour North, Berrigan, Yeoval, Cudal, Tallimba North, Rushes Creek, Bendemeer and Kootingal.
Queensland – Bundaberg East, Bundaberg North, Svensson Heights, Bargara, Elliots Heads, Burnett Heads and Drillham.
Western Australia – Carrabin and Burracoppin.
Tasmania – Myrtle Bank, Scottsdale, Campania and Ouse.
Vodafone chief technology officer, Benoit Hanssen, said the majority of the 32 new sites would be operational by the end of this year, with all to be “on-air” by the end of 2017.
“Vodafone is committed to increasing coverage and choice for customers in regional Australia, and we’ve identified 32 sites which will build on our growth in areas outside the major metropolitan centres.
“Many customers living in regional and rural Australia don’t have access to reliable coverage, choice of provider or both, and we’re determined to drive change,” Hanssen said.
“Over recent years, we have invested billions of dollars in our network to deliver improved access to fast, reliable mobile services, and we want to offer more Australians the coverage and competition they need and deserve."
In addition, the company’s chief strategy officer, Dan Lloyd, said it will continue to advocate for better outcomes for regional customers in the telecommunications policy and regulatory space.
“With the Federal Election campaign now underway, we’re reminding both side of politics of the importance of reliable and affordable 21st century telecommunications services in regional Australia.
“It’s crucial that whichever party wins the election ensures the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into the current Universal Service Obligation (USO) arrangements leads to meaningful change which benefits customers,” Lloyd said.
Lloyd mentioned that the $300 million in funding provided to Telstra every year to maintain an outdated copper network and payphones in regional areas could be much better spent.
“If a permanent Mobile Black Spot Programme was established, potentially using a portion of those USO funds, the number of regional areas to benefit from increased coverage and choice would increase substantially.
“We’ve also put a proposal to government to buy, at market price, some of the unsold 700MHz spectrum which would allow us to extend our network further, bringing the coverage and choice customers in regional areas need,” he added.