Thursday, 25 August 2016 12:52

Optus extends NT mobile coverage with ‘innovative’ small cell technology


Optus is boosting mobile coverage for locals and travellers across 12 remote locations in the Northern Territory with the introduction of cells that provide mobile coverage through its satellites.

Optus says the small units — known as “small cells” provide the potential for an inexpensive and flexible alternative to traditional mobile towers.

The small cells will be located between selected locations from Katherine to Uluru along the Stuart Highway, key roadhouses and popular check-in locations including Daly Waters, Renner Springs, Three Ways, Barrow Creek and Erldunda.

In addition, locations such as Curtin Springs on Lasseter’s Highway, which are not currently serviced by any mobile coverage, have been chosen.

Optus Networks acting managing director Dennis Wong says the introduction of small cell mobile technology on this scale will enhance customer experience for its customers in the Northern Territory.

“This initiative is about delivering a choice in mobile services for workers and residents in and around these key locations, and enabling a ‘check-in’ capability for passing traffic such as travelling workers, truckies and tourists,” Wong says.

Optus Satellite vice-president Paul Sheridan says that, as the “only Australian telco to own and operate mobile, fixed and satellite networks, this is a terrific initiative for Optus to leverage our expertise and introduce an innovative mobile and satellite technology solution to support our continued network expansion across Australia”.

“The use of small cells allows for the efficient provision of telecommunications services in difficult and often costly locations. While quite common in highly populous CBDs, we believe this is an excellent way to deploy this type of technology to deliver services to areas that are remote and geographically challenging.”

Sheridan says that when coupled with satellite connectivity/backhaul, the technologies provide the combined benefits of expanding mobile broadband coverage in a concentrated local area in rural, remote and previously unserviced locations.

Optus says it has had great success in testing and proving the small cell technology in the harsh conditions in remote South Australia, at Oodnadatta, with the small cells delivering mobile phone coverage up to a three-kilometre radius depending on the surrounding topography.

Here’s the list of Optus’ new NT Small Cell Locations:

•    Mataranka
•    Daly Waters
•    Ormiston Pound Ranger Station
•    Elliott
•    Renner Springs
•    Three Ways
•    Barkly Homestead
•    Wycliffe Well
•    Barrow Creek
•    Ti Tree
•    Erldunda
•    Curtin Springs

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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