Telstra has turned on its 1500th 4G base station “as part of a billion dollar, nationwide program to extend 4G mobile coverage to two thirds of the Australian population by the end of next month.”
The announcement follows and is very obviously a counter to Optus’s release of its 4G expansion plans on Monday. In that announcement Optus said it currently has 700 LTE base stations in operation, with many more planned. But Optus is relying on 3G+ to give it the sort of coverage Telstra is aiming at with 4G
“We have upgraded 4000 sites across the country and we now reach 98% of the population,” Optus said on Monday. “We will roll out 1000 base stations over the next 12 months to extend the 3G+ story to Adelaide, the NSW Central Coast, Wollongong and Canberra.” It is also building a TD-LTE data network, with Canberra as the first location.
Telstra’s Networks Executive Director Mike Wright said the Telstra 1500 4G base station milestone meant “superfast download and upload speeds would be available for millions of Australians on Telstra’s 4G network.”
Without mentioning Optus by name, Wright said “teams of technicians” were working across the country installing the equipment to build out the country’s biggest 4G network.
“The program is now running at pace and is on target – our technicians are now installing literally dozens of 4G base stations each and every week. It’s great to mark the 1500th milestone but we’ve committed to installing over 2000 base stations by the end of this financial year and we’ll keep working to meet this target.”
Wright said Telstra’s 4G network roll out program had extended coverage from 40%of the Australian population at the beginning of this calendar year to what is planned to be 66% by the end of next month. This coverage is in all capital cities, and also over 100 regional and suburban locations.
He said the rate of customer uptake had been just as impressive. “We now have over 2.1 million services connected to our 4G network and as the network grows we obviously expect that number to grow with it. This network expansion involves a significant amount of complexity across our engineering teams and industry partners and is a great reflection on our capability which has delivered a new milestone every 12 months for the past three years,” Wright said.