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. This includes $160.0 million in new funding for rounds 5 and 6 of this highly successful program, announced on 20 March 2019 as part of the Government's response to the 2018 Regional Telecommunications Review.

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

Under the first four rounds of the Program (Round 1, Round 2 , the Priority Locations Round and Round 4), the Government's commitment has generated investment of more than $760 million, delivering a total of 1,047 new base stations across Australia.

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

The Guidelines for Round 5 were released on Grant Connect on 5 April 2019 and the Grant Opportunity (GO2529) was opened for applications. Up to $80 million in funding has been allocated for Round 5.

Like previous rounds of the Program, Round 5 encourages the mobile industry and state and local governments to work together to address mobile black spots across regional and remote Australia. Interested communities are encouraged to contact the mobile network operators and state and local government authorities to make their needs known.

Mobile Network Operators and Infrastructure Providers have until 26 September 2019 to submit their applications.

The application period was extended by two months from 26 July 2019 to 26 September 2019 following requests from interested parties including state governments.

For further information about Round 5 see the Mobile Black Spot Program's FAQs page.

Round 6

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

Round 4

On 18 March 2019, the then Minister for Regional Services, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie, announced the results of the Round 4 competitive assessment process.

Round 4 will deliver 180 new mobile base stations (49 Optus and 131 Telstra) to address more coverage issues in regional and remote Australia. The rollout is expected to commence shortly, with the first new base stations being activated by the second half of the year.

Program update—June 2019

The Mobile Black Spot Program is delivering improved coverage outcomes and benefits to the Australian community with 713 base stations already activated as at 28 June 2019.

Base stations funded under the first three rounds of the Program are scheduled to be operational by 30 June 2019. Base stations funded under Round 4 of the Program are scheduled to be operational by 30 June 2020.

Information about the expected timing for individual base stations can be found on the mobile network operators' (Optus, Telstra and Vodafone) websites.

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 [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

Round 4

Mobile black spot location database