The Australian Government is improving mobile phone coverage and competition in regional and remote Australia through the Mobile Black Spot Program.

The Government has committed $220 million to the Mobile Black Spot Program to invest in telecommunications infrastructure to improve mobile coverage along major regional transport routes, in small communities and in a number of identified priority locations.

The Government's commitment is supported by co-contributions from state and local governments, mobile network operators (Optus, Telstra and Vodafone), businesses and local communities.

Rounds 1 and 2

Together rounds 1 and 2 are delivering almost $600 million in new investment to improving mobile coverage in regional and remote Australia. This will provide:

  • 765 new mobile base stations
  • 86,300 square kilometres of new and upgraded handheld coverage
  • 202,300 square kilometres of new external antenna coverage
  • over 7,600 kilometres of new coverage to major transport routes.

The Commonwealth funding commitment to rounds 1 and 2 was supported by $287 million from the mobile network operators: Optus ($36.5 million), Telstra ($229 million) and Vodafone ($21.5 million).

In addition, six state governments have co-contributed $141.2 million: New South Wales ($32.7 million), Queensland ($23.7 million), South Australia ($1.4 million), Tasmania ($0.7 million), Victoria ($28.9 million) and Western Australia ($53.8 million). An additional $2.2 million has been provided by local governments, businesses and community organisations.

Indicative rollout schedules are updated regularly as the rollout progresses and are available on the Optus, Telstra and Vodafone websites.

For more information about these rounds, including information on how the locations base stations were selected, see Frequently Asked Questions for rounds 1 and 2.

Priority Locations round

As part of the Australian Government’s $220 million commitment to the Mobile Black Spot Program, $60 million was allocated to the Priority Locations round to target locations announced by the Government.

Mobile coverage issues for 19 of the priority locations are already being addressed through previous rounds of the program, an alternative Government program, or through the mobile carriers own commercial investments.

A further $82.8 million in new investment will address the remaining 106 priority locations. The outcomes include:

  • $45.6 million in Commonwealth funding for 102 mobile base stations (12 Optus, 89 Telstra and one Vodafone), which includes the deployment of Telstra 4G small cells to address specific coverage issues at selected black spot locations.
  • All macrocell base stations will be provisioned with a minimum of 12 hours of back-up power
  • Optus and Telstra have recognised the coverage issues identified at four priority locations and advised that they will address these issues commercially

Funding for the Priority Locations round has been supplemented by Telstra ($34.6 million), Optus ($2.3 million) and Vodafone ($0.3 million).

With this announcement, all 125 identified priority locations will now receive improved mobile coverage as a result of direct investment from the Government and the mobile carriers.

We are now working with the carriers to commence the rollout with the first base stations expected to be activated later in 2018. The rollout timing will be available on the mobile carriers’ websites shortly.

Additional information is available on the Mobile Black Spot Program's FAQs page.

Contacts

Email: mobilecoverage [at] communications.gov.au
Mobile Black Spot Program
GPO Box 2154
CANBERRA ACT 2601

Additional information and resources

Round 1 funded base stations

Round 2 funded base stations

Government Priority Locations

Mobile black spot location database

The database of reported mobile black spot locations was provided to the mobile network operators to assist them to prepare their funding proposals for rounds 1 and 2 of the program. This database is closed for further nominations.

Discussion paper

Documents

Mobile Black Spot Program – Priority Locations round guidelines

We released these guidelines on 22 November 2017 to assist mobile network operators and mobile network infrastructure providers to prepare and submit proposals for funding under the Priority Locations round of the Australian Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program. The Priority Locations Grant Guidelines are available on GrantConnect (reference GO721).

Mobile Black Spot Programme—round 2 guidelines—version 1.1

Published

Download PDF (882.37 KB) Download DOC (800.71 KB)
These Guidelines were released by the Department of Communications and the Arts on 26 February 2016 to assist mobile network operators and mobile network infrastructure providers to prepare and submit proposals for funding under Round 2 of the Australian Government’s Mobile Black Spot Programme.

Mobile Black Spot Programme—round 1 guidelines

Published

Download PDF (730.24 KB) Download DOC (134.04 KB)
These Guidelines were released by the Department of Communications on 8 December 2014 to assist mobile network operators and mobile network infrastructure providers to prepare and submit proposals for funding under the Australian Government’s Mobile Black Spot Programme.