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 has been allocated to the Priority Locations round to target locations announced by the Government in 2016.

Since this announcement, funding has been allocated through a previous round of the program, or through an alternative Government program, which is already addressing the mobile coverage issues identified at eleven of these priority locations. A further eight of these locations have had, or will shortly have, the mobile coverage and service issues addressed by one or more of the mobile carriers through their own commercial investments, bringing the total to 19 sites already addressed.

The Government is now seeking applications through a competitive approach to market for solutions to target the remaining 106 priority locations.

The Priority Locations Grant Guidelines have been released and applications are now open for the competitive assessment process. The Guidelines specify the application process and include the specific locations where applicants can seek funding to expand and improve mobile coverage. The allocation of funding to improve mobile coverage at each location will be subject to suitable applications being submitted by the mobile network operators and mobile network infrastructure providers.

The Priority Locations Grant Guidelines have been released on GrantConnect (reference GO721).

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 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.