The Mobile Black Spot program
The Federal Government's Mobile Black Spot Program is one of the largest ever expansions of mobile coverage in regional and remote Australia. See the frequently asked questions below or learn more by visiting our Mobile Black Spot program site.
How is Telstra involved with the Mobile Black Spot Program?
The competitive mobiles market in Australia has performed extremely well in delivering services to more than 99% of the population, but in a country the size of ours, there are people living in areas where there is no commercial business case to invest. The Mobile Black Spot Program combines public and private funds to address some of these black spot areas.
The Australian mobiles market is open and competitive. Wherever we invest to build our network, our competitors can too. All the research confirms that millions of Australians choose Telstra over our competitors because we give them what they want – the best and largest national mobile network and the products and services they value.
We offer a range of different plans at different price points and do so on a national basis, so regional customers who receive coverage under this program will receive the same prices as customers in Sydney and Melbourne.
The Mobile Black Spot Program tenders were open and competitive processes. All carriers had an equal opportunity to put in the best bids to deliver new coverage. We put a lot of work into developing our bids in terms of delivering new coverage and these are so far backed by up to $300 million of our own capital.
We are proud to have put forward strong bids for regional Australia and look forward to rolling out the new mobile sites and introducing or expanding coverage for hundreds of communities over the next few years.
Telstra mobile retail services will operate on Telstra built Federal Government Black Spots sites. As such, voice and data devices will be supported.
4G HD Calling (VoLTE) is also available on compatible handsets. For more details, see our Voice over LTE Calling site.
Ultimately, this is a Federal Government program and they set the rules for it. Under the rules of the program, we were required to nominate regional and remote locations from the Government’s database of mobile black spots as reported by members of the public, local communities and councils and other interested parties. The database contained over 10,600 reported locations across Australia.
This program established by the Federal Government included a formula that allocated the available funding based on several criteria, including the lack of existing coverage and the number of people who would benefit from a new mobile site.
A base station is what connects a handheld device to the wider Telstra network and a small cell is a miniature version of a base station.
Key differences between the two technologies:
- A small cell will only provide coverage to a localised area whilst a base station can provide much wider coverage to an area.
- A base station has a larger coverage footprint when compared to a small cell.
Unique challenges are faced with an infrastructure roll out of this size and there are many factors affecting when any specific site can be completed.
The logistics of deploying construction parties and delivering materials across regional Australia, and specifics around each site, such as obtaining land access approvals, and the presence and proximity of existing infrastructure including road access, power, and transmission, all have an impact on the timing of the roll-out and the dates by when individual sites can be completed.
Australia is a big country and building a mobile network to cover our entire landmass is simply not technically or commercially feasible. We acknowledge some communities will be disappointed at missing out.
We will continue to look for opportunities to address these areas, including through future co-investment programs.
A number of factors and variables contribute to the rollout schedule, such as time required to acquire an appropriate site and obtain relevant Federal, State and Local Government approvals as well as the scale and complexity of work required for a specific site and the presence or absence of existing infrastructure that can be utilised at that site.
We must also work with a number of third parties to ensure other necessary infrastructure is available at each site, such as power and road access. As such, all locations and milestone dates are indicative only and subject to change.
While any delay is regrettable, Telstra remains committed to delivering state-of-the-art mobile services to these communities.
Locations were identified as mobile network black spots through the Federal Government’s Black Spot Program. The parameters for the program were set, and the sites selected for funding by the Federal Government were then based on these parameters.
The approved Federal Government black spot sites were identified after undergoing rigorous engineering analysis and we have identified the sites we believe will allow us to best meet the coverage objectives of the program, within the allocated budget. We will be endeavouring, in all circumstances, to construct mobile sites on the specific locations that were proposed in our bid in order to meet our contractual commitments to the Federal and State Governments.
A small cell is a miniature version of mobile network technology that is traditionally used to boost coverage and capacity in densely populated urban areas. Telstra has reworked the technology and uses small cells as a cost-effective way to deliver 4G data services and 4G VoLTE calls to a selected area in small towns where supporting infrastructure exists.
Good to know: To make a call on a small cell you need a VoLTE compatible handset.
Details of site completions will be published on our website and also communicated with the local community at the appropriate time.
There are many factors that determine which areas receive funding for a mobile site, including the parameters of the policy set by the Federal Government, whether State and Local Governments put up any additional funds and how many people in a particular area would benefit from new coverage, among other things.
Frequently asked questions
If your provider is BOOST Telecommunications, then you’ll be able to use your device in any area where Telstra builds a Mobile Black Spot site.
If your service provider uses the Telstra Wholesale mobile service to serve you, then you’ll need to check the coverage map on your provider’s site.
For more information about Telstra’s Mobile Network coverage, please refer to our coverage maps, which will be updated as the Black Spot sites go on the air.
If you still have questions, try visiting the Federal Government's Mobile Black Spot Program Website.
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