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 $380 million to the Mobile Black Spot Program (the Program) to invest in telecommunications infrastructure to improve mobile coverage and competition across Australia.

The Program is supported by co-contributions from state and local governments, mobile network operators (Optus,Telstra and TPG Telecom Ltd (formerly Vodafone)), businesses and local communities.

Under the first five rounds of the Program (Round 1, Round 2 , the Priority Locations Round, Round 4 and Round 5), the Government's commitment has generated investment of more than $836 million, delivering a total of 1,229 new base stations across Australia.

On 20 March 2019 as part of the Government's response to the 2018 Regional Telecommunications Review $160 million in funding was allocated to further rounds of this highly successful program.

For more information about these rounds, including information on how the locations of base stations were selected, see the Mobile Black Spot Program's FAQs page.

Round 5

In April 2020, the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, The Hon Paul Fletcher MP, together with the Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government, The Hon Mark Coulton MP, announced the results of the Round 5 competitive assessment process.

Round 5 is funding the 182 new mobile base stations which will address coverage issues across regional and remote Australia, including 33 base stations that specifically target Public Interest Premises such as economic centres and emergency services facilities. For further information about Round 5 see the Mobile Black Spot Program's FAQs page.

Round 5A

The next step in the Program will be to conduct a Round 5A to test a range of different program designs. Funding for Round 5A will be drawn from the unused portion of the funding allocated to Round 5 to continue to expand and improve mobile coverage for regional and remote Australia.

The Government has sought feedback from industry and the community on options for the design of Round 5A, including a focus on improving mobile connectivity along major transport corridors and in disaster-prone regions, such as bushfire-prone areas, as well as the testing of new technologies that support shared mobile coverage in regional areas.

Further information on this consultation, including the Round 5A discussion paper and the submissions that have been made public, can be found on the Round 5A Consultation on design options 'Have your say' page.

The Government is now consulting on draft Round 5A grant opportunity guidelines. This consultation can be found in the Round 5A draft grant opportunity guidelines ‘Have your say’ page.

Round 6

The Government has committed $80 million for Round 6 of the Program. Round 6 is expected to commence after the Round 5A process is complete.

Program update—October 2020

The Mobile Black Spot Program is delivering improved coverage outcomes and benefits to the Australian community with 881 base stations already activated as at 12 October 2020.

Base stations funded under the first five rounds of the Program are scheduled to be operational by 30 June 2022.

Information about the expected timing for individual base stations can be found on the websites of Field Solutions Group, OptusTelstra and TPG Telecom (formerly Vodafone).

Base station delays

Due to a range of external factors outside of the direct control of the mobile network operators, some base stations have experienced delays and require additional time in order to be delivered.

Additional information on delays can be found on the Mobile Black Spot Program's FAQs page.

Base stations that are no longer required or cannot be built

Under the Program there are a small number of planned base stations that cannot be built at the original scheduled location. In these cases the mobile network operator will explore all options to deliver new and improved coverage to the original planned area including investigating alternative sites.

There are also a small number of base stations that are no longer required to be built as coverage is now being delivered by one or more base stations nearby. In these cases the funding for the original base station has been used to fund an alternative site.

Further information, including a list of alternative sites and a list of base stations that will no longer be built under the Program, is available on the Mobile Black Spot Program's FAQs page.

Contacts

Email: mobilecoverage@communications.gov.au.

Mobile Black Spot Program
GPO Box 594
Canberra ACT 2601

Additional information and resources

Round 1 funded base stations

Round 2 funded base stations

Government Priority Locations

Round 4

Round 5

The Round 5 Grant Guidelines are available on GrantConnect.

Mobile black spot location database