Telstra completes major Tasmanian mobile network upgrade early

Media Release, 20 August 2020

Five communities in Tasmania’s west coast region are enjoying new, faster mobile coverage after Telstra announced the early completion of its $5.2 million Tasmanian network upgrade.

A new 4GX mobile site has been switched on in Tullah, bringing dedicated Telstra mobile coverage to the peaceful former mining town and its 150 residents for the first time.

Federal Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher joined Federal Member for Braddon Gavin Pearce MP and Telstra Regional General Manager Michael Patterson by video call for the launch of the new site.

The towns of Waratah and Savage River are enjoying faster mobile coverage thanks to 4GX upgrades to their existing mobile sites. Zeehan and Strahan have also benefited from the recently completed upgrade of radio transmission links, improving network performance.

The upgrades were completed more than 12 months ahead of schedule and form part of the major North West Tasmania Communications Upgrade which was carried out by Telstra in partnership with the Australian Government, West Coast Council and Waratah-Wynyard Council.

Federal Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP said the project is bringing significant benefits to people living in regional communities on Tasmania’s west coast.

“We’re investing in a better, more resilient network that will help bridge the digital divide and bring dedicated and faster mobile services to towns in some of Tasmania’s most remote areas,” Minister Fletcher said.

Federal Member for Braddon Gavin Pearce MP said local residents and businesses would benefit from the new technology as it was rolled out.

“This will be a game-changer for communities along the west coast – helping to boost the economy through better mobile coverage and internet access; driving a stronger tourism sector,” Mr Pearce said.

Telstra Regional General Manager Michael Patterson said the project was completed more than a year ahead of schedule, providing customers with a better mobile experience sooner.

“We’ve rolled out Telstra’s first dedicated mobile site in Tullah, and we’re thrilled to be able to provide the same connectivity to the town that Tasmanians in larger cities enjoy.”

“Locals in Waratah and Savage River are also enjoying faster mobile speeds thanks to 4GX upgrades and Zeehan and Strahan have seen improved performance from recently completed transmission upgrades.”

“This is about more than just faster mobile speeds – it’s about building more capacity, reliability and resilience into the network, creating a real platform for future growth and to cater for increasing demand.”

“We’ve finished this project more than a year ahead of schedule – which means we’ve been able to bring better coverage and better performance to locals sooner across a big area of Tasmania’s west.”

Tullah Progress Association president Jenny Bowie said, “better mobile coverage will mean so much for locals and visitors to Tullah – it’ll mean our town can stay better connected and grow.”

“It’s been great to see the support of Telstra and the Australian Government to bring better mobile coverage to Tullah and hopefully we’ll see other towns in Tasmania benefit from this type of partnership in the future.”

The project involved key upgrades and delivery of important infrastructure including a new transmission ring between Launceston and Burnie to boost resilience, new fibre and capacity from Burnie to Queenstown and new radio links into Zeehan, Strahan, Tullah and Waratah to more than double the existing capacity.

Telstra has worked with TasNetworks and utilised its 42-24 fibre network to improve capacity along the west coast and which lays the foundation for better connectivity between Tasmania’s east and west.


Telstra North West Tasmania Communications Upgrade information:

  • The Australian Government and Telstra announced the $5.2 million North West Tasmania Communications Upgrade project in September 2019.
  • The project saw Telstra and the Australian Government jointly invest in upgrading the communications network in Tasmania’s north west, in partnership with West Coast Council and Waratah-Wynyard Council.
  • The project included upgrades to Telstra’s network capacity and resilience, improving services for customers from Burnie to Queenstown and Strahan and across the north-west and resulting in a better network to serve the growing areas along the west coast.
  • The project included:
    • Upgrading Telstra’s fibre transmission ring from Launceston to Burnie;
    • New fibre capacity from Burnie to Queenstown;
    • New radio links from Mt Read into Zeehan, Strahan and Tullah and from Companion Hill into Waratah;
    • 3G to 4GX upgrades to Savage River and Waratah;
    • Mobiles backhaul capacity uplift for Zeehan and Strahan;
    • A new, dedicated 4GX mobile site in Tullah.
  • The project is also a unique partnership with Telstra utilising TasNetworks 42-24 optical fibre to provide a second transmission pathway on top of Telstra’s existing links.
  • The entire project is was completed in August 2020, more than 12 months early.


Telstra media contact: 

Matt Smithson - Media Manager (VIC/TAS)
Media ref number: 089/2020