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

Round 1

The Government committed $100 million through round 1 of the program which is delivering 499 new and upgraded mobile base stations across Australia. The locations to benefit under Round 1 were announced in June 2015.

These base stations will provide:

  • new handheld coverage to 68,600 square kilometres
  • new external antenna coverage to over 150,000 square kilometres
  • new handheld or external antenna coverage to over 5,700 kilometres of major transport routes.

The Commonwealth funding for round 1 has been supplemented by Telstra ($165 million) and Vodafone ($20 million). In addition, five state governments have co-contributed towards round 1: NSW ($24 million), Victoria ($21 million), Queensland ($10 million), Western Australia ($32 million) and Tasmania ($0.35 million). An additional $1.7 million has been provided by local governments, businesses and community organisations.

Information about Telstra's 429 round 1 base stations is available on its website and will be updated regularly. The website shows the status of construction and enables users to search for base stations being rolled out in their area, including those which have been completed to date.

Information about the rollout of all of Vodafone's round 1 base stations is available on its website and shows the expected completion date of the 70 base stations to be funded under round 1, including those which have been completed to date.

The full rollout of all 499 mobile base stations funded under round 1 will occur over three years. The rollout sequence is being determined by Telstra and Vodafone based on various factors, such as obtaining local government planning approval and landowner agreement where necessary, and/or the ability to access existing infrastructure, power and backhaul.

Round 2

A further $60 million has been committed by the Government for round 2 of the program. The competitive selection process for round 2 was announced on 26 February 2016. Applications from mobile network operators and infrastructure providers closedon 14 July 2016. The locations to be funded under round 2 are expected to be announced in later in the year.

The round 2 program guidelines are available for download in the section below titled 'additional information and resources'.

Eligibility of locations receiving 4G small cells through round 1 of the program

Telstra is deploying up to 200 4G small cells under round 1 of the program, which is in addition to the 429 mobile base stations for which Telstra received funding under round 1. As these 4G small cells do not provide 3G mobile services, receiving a 4G small cell will not cause a location to be ineligible for a mobile base station under round 2 of the program (in accordance with the eligibility criterion at section 2.2.1(b) of the round 2 Guidelines).

Mobile black spot location database

The database of reported mobile black spot locations closed for new nominations on 15 January 2016. The database was provided to the mobile network operators to assist them to prepare their funding proposals for round 2.

Contacts

Mobile Black Spot Program
GPO Box 2154
CANBERRA ACT 2601

Email: mobilecoverage [at] communications.gov.au

Tel: 1800 113 486 (freecall from a landline)

Additional information and resources

Round 1 funded base stations

Discussion paper

Documents

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.