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Bridging the coverage gap: The Telstra 4GX-lite Mobile Satellite Small Cell

Regional Network

Posted on June 12, 2018

4 min read

Today we’ve launched the Telstra 4GX-lite Mobile Satellite Small Cell, a new solution to help people living and working in some of Australia’s most remote places purchase their own coverage extension of our 4GX mobile service.

With the Telstra mobile network now covering 99.4 per cent of the population, we’ve been looking for an innovative solution to bring mobile coverage to the remaining 0.6 per cent of the population who live in rural and remote pockets of Australia.

The Telstra 4GX-lite Mobile Satellite Small Cell is a smaller, lower cost version of a standard mobile base station that uses satellite backhaul to give customers access to Telstra’s 4GX-lite service which can support voice, email, messaging, social media posts, browsing and basic data. Due to constraints with the satellite backhaul it is not intended to support data heavy applications, like high definition video streaming or video calling and conferencing.

With the Telstra mobile network now covering 99.4 per cent of the population, we’ve been looking for an innovative solution to bring mobile coverage to the remaining 0.6 per cent.

We know how frustrating it can be for many businesses and communities in regional areas who want to use the innovative technology on offer to grow their businesses or connect their people, but due to cost and distance from existing infrastructure they are unable to get mobile coverage.

This innovative solution will bridge that gap.

The Satellite Small Cell is funded by co-contributions from Telstra and the customer, where the customer pays an initial amount to cover the cost of installation and we build and maintain the small cell, reducing the cost of gaining access to new coverage from hundreds of thousands of dollars for a new base station to tens of thousands.

Essentially, the customer determines the capacity and depth of mobile coverage that they need and then works with us to craft a solution that works for them. It’s an exciting new option for communities and businesses like mines, roadhouses, farms and agricultural business.

Queensland’s Winton Council will be the first customer to use the Telstra 4GX-lite Satellite Small Cell, using the solution to bring coverage to some parts of the Winton shire for the first time and to help grow tourism in the area. Winton is a remote area, driven by rural industry and tourism – all industries where mobile coverage can provide so much in terms of innovation, connectivity and safety.

Successful trials have been held over the last 12 months at five sites across Australia, with a total of 16 trial sites expected to be on air by July 2018. We aim to deliver up to 500 Satellite Small Cells over the next three years.

The Telstra 4GX-lite Mobile Satellite Small Cell is one of a number of products Telstra has specifically designed to improve mobile coverage for remote and regional Australians, including the Yagi antennae and the Telstra Go Repeater.

The launch of the Telstra 4GX-lite Mobile Satellite Small Cell builds on our successful contribution to improving coverage for all Australians and provides a useful complement to the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program, which has so far seen mobile coverage extended to more than 170,000 square kilometres of country Australia.

Telstra 4GX-lite Mobile Satellite Small Cell facts

  • This product is only available where there is no existing Telstra mobile coverage.
  • It is suited to small rural and remote communities such as tourism hotspots, remote roadhouses, mines and centres of agri-business.
  • The small cell will be on a standalone platform or attached to an existing building on the customer’s land, provided by the customer at no cost to Telstra.
  • In most cases, the customer will provide mains power for the small cell at no on-going cost to Telstra (single 10 amp circuit required). Options can be tailored to meet the customer’s budget.
  • Telstra provides and installs all the necessary equipment, with the cost of installation payable by the customer.
  • Coverage is provided via Telstra’s 4GX 700 MHz band.
  • Voice calls will require VoLTE enabled 4GX devices.