Optus will build 22 new mobile sites across Western Queensland, in its $10 million mobile infrastructure upgrade investment.
This will include 18 mobile sites funded via standalone Optus investment and four via money from the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program.
The 18 Optus sites represent an $8.2 million commitment from Optus to improve its network in the area, while the four Mobile Black Spot Program sites are the result of $1.8 million combined investment by the Federal Government, State Government and Optus.
As a result of this rollout, Optus said its coverage will be extended by more than 600km across the Cunningham, Warrego, Carnarvon and Castlereagh Highways. Currently, 14 sites have been completed, with another eight sites to follow by June.
Optus standalone investment sites that have been completed include Augethella, Barcoola Homestead, Mitchell Escarpment, Lurnea, Morven, Crotchdantigh, Mia Bend, Teddington, Dirranbandi, St George North, Mt Walpanara, and Mungallala.
North Charleville, Charleville Central, Mangalore, Wyandra, Lonsome and Bymount South are standalone investment sites yet to be complete.
Optus identified that the complete Mobile Black Spot Program sites upgraded are Brucedale and Blue Lagoon, with the Mirrabooka and Nardoo area upgrades yet to be complete.
The news follows a recent announcement of the Victorian Government fixing mobile black spots along Victoria’s five busiest regional rail corridors by partnering with Telstra, Optus and Vodafone in an $18 million project.
Optus mobile access planning manager, Vin Mullins, said the move is to “vastly improve mobile coverage to the region”.
“We are proud to connect these iconic stretches of highway in Western Queensland. We’re continually working to connect regional Australia and these 22 new sites will result in significant network coverage expansion and improvement to our customers’ experience.
“We’re also looking forward to working with governments on the continued roll out of the Mobile Black Spot Program and thank all governments for investing in such a crucial program,” he said.
Minister for Regional Communications, Fiona Nash, welcomed Optus’ investment, and in relation to the Mobile Black Spot Program sites, said the upgrades will give more homes and businesses better mobile coverage.
The Mobile Black Spot sites listed are part of the Queensland Government’s commitment of about $24 million to deliver 144 new and improved mobile base stations to regional communities across 54 different councils under the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program.
Optus co-contributed a further $36.4 million to fund 65 mobile base stations as well as the deployment of 49 satellite small cells.
“In total, rounds one and two of the Coalition’s program will deliver new coverage to 32,000 homes and businesses across 86,000 square kilometres including 7600 of major transport routes via 765 new mobile phone towers,” Nash said.
Queensland Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy, Leeanne Enoch, said the announcement is welcome news for many Queenslanders living with poor mobile phone reception.
“Mobile coverage is critical for people dealing with natural disasters but it is also essential for everyday life, business, tourism, education and social connection. Providing mobile coverage at key points along remote roads is important for locals and tourists alike,” she said.
In January, Optus ramped up its regional mobile coverage in the Northern Territory and South Australia, installing additional satellite small cells across the states.
The South Australian satellite small cell locations included Cadney Park, Marla, Dalhousie Springs, Mt Dare hotel, Wilpena Pound, and Maralinga.
Meanwhile, the Northern Territory satellite small cell locations covered Kulgera, Mt Ebenezer Roadhouse, Ross River Homestead, Simpsons Gap Visitor Centre, and Glen Helen Homestead.