Optus announces 43 new mobile towers for South Australia

Optus will invest AU$23.6 million to build out more mobile sites across South Australia over the next few months.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Optus will be lighting up 43 new mobile sites across South Australia by March 2019 under a AU$23.6 million investment, the telco has announced.

The sites listed by Optus include Adelaide Airport, Adelaide Oval, Elizabeth Station, CBD West, Mt Gambier CBD, Mt Gambier North East, Tanunda CBD North, Nepean Bay West, Everard Park, Two Wells Central, Woodchester, Nuriootpa Township, Ashville, Oaklands Park, Avoca Dell, and Georgetown.

It will also build new towers at Aldinga Foreshore, Gawler Central, Port Parham, Yongala, Bute, Kadina Township, Scott Creek, Birkenhead, Kudla, Stirling North, Cadell, Kongwirra, Cavan North, Marble Hill, Snowtown, Cooke Plains, Seppeltsfield, Cockatoo Valley, and Tintinara East.

Under the federal government's mobile blackspots program, Optus will additionally be building out mobile sites across Farm Beach, Wolseley, Puntabie, Wynarka, Yahl, Sevenhill, and Mindarie in South Australia.

"We want customers to have a choice when selecting their network carrier, which is why we have invested in over 70 new sites across South Australia in the last 12 months, with more than 40 set to come online over the next four months," Optus CEO Allen Lew said.

"The last 12 months has seen a real boost to our services in regional and rural parts of South Australia, and this investment will continue, with 50 percent of our new sites set to sit within a regional or rural location."

Optus had last year announced that it would invest AU$1.5 billion in improving its mobile telecommunications coverage throughout Australia, with the telco last month detailing how it is also expanding its 4G coverage by collocating on National Broadband Network (NBN) fixed-wireless sites.

Last week, a report by OpenSignal said Optus' 4G network is available more than 90 percent of the time.

According to the mobile analytics company's State of Mobile Networks: Australia report, 4G availability -- the proportion of time that OpenSignal users have a 4G connection available to them -- was best on Optus, at a reported 90.49 percent.

Optus, which had 10.2 million mobile customers by the end of October, had earlier last week announced that its 4G population coverage reached 97.2 percent as of October 31, with 7,011 of its mobile sites upgraded to 4G and 5,990 of these upgraded to 700MHz spectrum.

Optus will also be launching its 5G fixed-wireless service in Canberra and Brisbane in January 2019, with other Australian capital cities to follow by March.

The launch follows Optus trialling 5G in Sydney, the telco's parent company Singtel revealed in its first-half results report.

"After successfully concluding live 5G trials in Sydney, we are on track to commercially launch fixed-wireless access services in January 2019," Lew said last week.

"Customer experience remains our top priority, and we are focused on removing customer pain-points across the entire business."

Optus had showcased its 5G capabilities during the Commonwealth Games, with Lew at the time outlining the company's 5G roadmap in an interview with ZDNet.

Optus' road to 5G saw it begin switching on its 4.5G network in February last year, followed by the addition of Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (Massive MIMO) and three-cell carrier aggregation to 4G at the end of last year.

Optus had in February announced that it will begin rolling out its 5G network across Australia in early 2019 in an aim to launch a fixed-wireless product in "key metro areas", following its first 5G trial with Huawei back in November 2016.

Huawei has since been banned by the federal government from involvement in the rollout of 5G networks across Australia.

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