Telstra has just announced that as part of the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Programme, they will be adding 679 new sites in regional areas.

The sites will consist of 429 3G/4G towers and 250 4G data only small cells which will be built over the next three years.

The 3G/4G sites will cover some 400 communities currently without coverage in or around their town. Towns which would benefit from this announcement cover every state in Australia as well as the Northern Territory, though it appears the ACT, though counted as a regional area won’t see additional towers. In their announcement, Telstra specifically named :

Leeuwin in Western Australia, Cape Otway in Victoria, Coffee Camp in New South Wales, Widgee in Queensland, Lulworth in Tasmania, Imanpa in Northern Territory and Fregon in South Australia.

Telstra has provided a state-by-state breakdown of locations to be added :

The 250 4G data only small cells will be rolled out nationally, with 50 specifically targetted for Queensland as part of an arrangement with the state government. Telstra will be working with the QLD state government on where those cells will be located. Telstra advised that though the small cells are data only at this stage, they are working to implement Voice over LTE (VoLTE) on these cells in the future to allow voice calling.

With regards to sharing towers with other carriers in these regional areas, Telstra advised:

We will be offering other carriers the opportunity to use space on our towers to install their own equipment and offer services to their customers from these towers, in accordance with existing industry practices. Our competitors are well-resourced and free to invest in extending their networks into previously unserved regional areas. So this is not just good news for Telstra customers but an opportunity for all carriers to invest in expanding their coverage in regional Australia.

Look out for more service from Telstra in a lot of new areas in the next 3 years.

Source: Telstra Exchange Blog.