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Telstra forms Mining Services business for oil and gas industries

Telstra's newly formed mining services business will provide communications and technological solutions to those working in the industry.

Australia's incumbent telecommunications provider has announced the forming of Telstra Mining Services, flagging it as a "strategic investment" in the mining, gas, and oil industry.

The announcement comes as a result of Telstra acquiring the Wi-Fi and Mesh communications technology services of CBO Telecommunications, which enables designing, building, and maintaining enterprise networks used across mining sites.

"The acquisition of CBO's network consulting, engineering, and services business was the next step to expand our communications business beyond the mine gate," said the head of Telstra Global Industries David Keenan.

"This investment means we can confidently meet the industry's communication needs at Australian mine sites."

The acquisition, which Telstra said also "has significant complementary capabilities to support the future growth of Telstra's mining-focused private LTE and public LTE (LANES) businesses", is expected to complete on June 30.

Last April, Telstra said it was looking to sell its 4G LANES service, which dedicates specific "lanes" of spectrum for allocated purposes, into the mining and enterprise industries after conducting several successful pilots of the technology in Perth and Brisbane.

It also used its LANES service during the G20 Summit at the end of 2014 in partnership with Motorola Solutions.

"In the enterprise space, we are actually deploying LANES for enterprise. We actually have businesses, especially in the mining sector that have their own LTE spectrum, and they are working with us to expand the Next G network to provide those services," Alex Stefan, Telstra's national general manager of government and public safety and security, said last year.

According to Keenan, the impact of the recent value loss in the mining industry can be lessened by more efficient technological and communications solutions, which can now be provided by Telstra Mining Services.

"The decline in global commodity prices is largely driving a downturn in the resources sector, and, as a consequence, sharpening the industry's focus on reducing costs and maximising production," Keenan explained.

"This downturn has created a once-in-a-lifetime shift, where miners are looking to technology innovation to help them future proof their operations. Telstra Mining Services will be focused on helping our mining customers drive better business outcomes by significantly improving in-shift staff and asset productivity."

Telstra Mining Services will do this by providing tailored high-bandwidth networks, software capabilities, mobility solutions, and remote management for on-site ruggedised industrial data networks through the Telstra Resources Network Management Solution, Keenan said.

To back up its commitment to the industry, Telstra has also announced appointing two global mining experts to the business: Jeannette McGill and Eric Nettleton.

McGill comes from Anglo American Platinum, where she served as head of Technology and Innovation, and will be the head of Telstra Mining Services from July 1. Nettleton, who was last head of Automation Technology R&D at Rio Tinto Innovation, will join Telstra's Global Products and Solutions division.

"This is only the beginning, as we will continue to deepen our capabilities to deliver tailored technology innovation to our mining customers, both in Australia and internationally," Keenan said.