NBN Co and Optus co-build mobile towers

NBN Co and Optus are in the 'early stages' of plans to co-build mobile towers for the company's respective fixed-wireless and mobile networks.

NBN Co and Optus are planning to co-build a number of mobile towers in regional and remote areas of Australia for their respective fixed-wireless and satellite networks.

For around 4 percent of Australian premises, NBN Co will need to build or collocate in at least 2,300 towers for the company's fixed-wireless long-term evolution (LTE) network.

NBN Co already has collocating agreements in place with Australia's mobile network operators, allowing the companies to access NBN Co's towers to expand their own mobile networks. The agreements will apply to 40 percent of NBN Co's towers.

NBN Co confirmed in an answer to a question on notice released this week that the company has received 39 applications and enquiries from telcos and state emergency services to collocate network equipment, and 31 are in progress. Around half of the towers have yet to be built, according to NBN Co.

In addition to collocation, NBN Co said it plans to build around 100 towers in partnership with mobile carriers, and the company revealed that it is in the early stages of co-building towers with Optus.

"This is where a new site being designed with both carriers' current and future equipment requirements are taken into consideration," NBN Co said.

This is separate from the government's AU$100 million mobile blackspot program. The government is accepting applications until March from telcos for funding new towers in regional and remote areas of Australia. NBN Co said it has been working with carriers to determine the locations where its towers could be used to improve mobile coverage.

In addition to sharing towers, NBN Co is also using its fibre network to supply backhaul. ZDNet revealed in August last year that NBN Co is also testing out supplying fibre to Vodafone's mobile towers.

The network was originally planned to be completed in 2015, but ZDNet reported earlier this week that the company does not have a fixed date for the completion of the network outside the 2020 date for the rollout across all technologies in the so-called multi-technology mix.

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