Telstra to roll out 135 rural 4G base stations

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Telstra to roll out 135 rural 4G base stations

Commitment under govt's mobile blackspot program.

Telstra will deliver 135 4G small-cell base stations in rural areas across all seven Australian states as part of its involvement in the federal government's mobile blackspot program.

The cellular base stations will provide 4G data-only service.

Under round one of the government program to improve cellular coverage in the regions, Telstra said it would commit $165 million of its own money to boost the mobile footprint in rural areas.

The telco did not specify what sort of 4G LTE capabilities and performance the new small-cell base stations would have. Telstra's group managing director of networks, Mike Wright, said the rollout would open the door to emerging 4G technologies such as voice over LTE.

Telstra is receiving $94.8 million from the federal government to roll out 429 base stations in total across Australia's regional and remote locations.

The government's mobile blackspot program seeks to provide increased coverage by 68,600 square kilometres through the addition of 499 new and upgraded mobile base stations across Australia.

Using an external antenna, the coverage would extend to 150,000 square kilometres, with another 5700 kilometres of reception along major transport routes.

Along with Telstra's contribution, Vodafone has chipped in $20 million for round one of the program.

New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania have put in $24 million, $21 million, $10 million, $32 million, and $350,000 respectively as well for round one.

A second, $60 million round of funding with a competitive selection process will close on July 14, with locations to be announced in the second half of this year.

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