Telstra 4G network now available for MVNOs

Wholesalers including AldiMobile, Woolworths, and Telechoice can now access Telstra's 4G network ahead of its intended launch in June 2016.

Telstra has announced that it is now offering wholesale access to its extensive 4G network to mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) AldiMobile, Woolworths, Telechoice, and Better Life.

The wholesale 4G network will reach 92 percent of the Australian population across the 1800MHz/700MHz spectrum bands, as well as the 2600MHz band for extra capacity in some areas, and will facilitate maximum download speeds of 100Mbps.

"We know many of our MVNO customers are keen to have the opportunity to offer 4G services on Australia's leading mobile network, so we are pleased to have the next evolution of our wholesale offer ready ahead of schedule," Will Irving, group executive of Telstra Wholesale, said in a statement.

The telecommunications provider had initially announced in March last year that it would offer access as of June 2016.

Meanwhile, Amaysim and its MVNO brands Vaya, Live Connected, and Zen Connect have been reselling Optus' 4G Plus network over mobile services and fixed-line broadband for around two years, as has Virgin Mobile.

Vodafone Australia also plans to begin wholesaling its 4G network to MVNO Kogan Mobile during the first half of this year.

To bring its 4G network to more areas, Telstra in February spent AU$191 million on acquiring additional 1800MHz spectrum during the auction held by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

The 1800MHz band is already being used in metropolitan areas by Telstra, Vodafone, and Optus to deliver their 4G networks, but was primarily in use in remote Australia for point-to-point backhaul services. The reallocation of the spectrum will ensure that it is used to bring faster connection speeds to those living in regional areas.

During the auction, Telstra won five lots of 1800MHz spectrum in Darwin, for AU$5.58 million; six lots in North Queensland, paying AU$18.24 million; five lots in Central Queensland, for AU$10.09 million; four lots in South Queensland, for AU$36.63 million; five lots in Northern New South Wales, for AU$14.82 million; and five lots in Western NSW, for AU$7.96 million.

It also won two lots in the Australian Capital Territory, for AU$17.22 million; five lots in Southern NSW/Riverina, for AU$15.13 million; four lots in Regional Victoria, for AU$28.15 million; four lots in Tasmania, for AU$22.67 million; six lots in Regional SA, for AU$7.44 million; and five lots in Regional Western Australia, for AU$6.01 million.

In terms of mobile market share, market research company Kantar published the latest statistics earlier on Thursday, revealing that Aldi Mobile has gained market share while other MVNOs lost customers across the board.

Aldi improved its total market share by 0.1 percentage point year on year, to 1.8 percent as of the end of March; its prepaid share by 0.3 percentage points, up to 4.6 percent; its post-paid share by 0.1 percentage point, to 0.2 percent; and its no-contract share by 0.1 percentage point, up to 1.2 percent.

Other MVNOs, however, lost 0.1 percentage point in the total market segment, down to 7.5 percent; 0.3 percentage points in prepaid, down to 6.9 percent; 0.5 percentage points in post-paid, down to 6.4 percent; and 0.5 percentage points in the no-contract segment, to 13.8 percent of market share.

Telstra, on the other hand, had a 41.1 percent total market share, Kantar said, up from the 39.7 percent recorded last year despite its three network outages. In prepaid, it holds 41.7 percent of the market, up 4.1 percentage points year on year; in post-paid, it holds 43.6 percent, up 1.2 percentage points; and in no contract, it holds 30.1 percent, down one percentage point.