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Mobile Network Investment Focused on 5G in Major Cities

ACCC data just released shows that, between January 2018 and 2020, Australia’s leading mobile network operators continued to invest in network deployment, slowing down on 3G and 4G to focus on 5G – but that’s really only good news if you live in a major city.

Telstra, Singtel Optus and TPG Telecom all made significant investments, but the deployment has mainly been centred on mass markets.

The ACCC’s first Mobile Infrastructure Report responds to their commitment to transparency in mobile infrastructure assets and coverage.

“The data can be used to assess where the mobile network operators have been deploying network infrastructure, which will provide more accountability over their investment claims in future years,” says ACCC Commissioner Anna Brakey.

As anyone away from a larger population centre knows, getting any sort of mobile coverage can often mean driving somewhere to find it, while the rollout of 5G in capitals and areas of denser population remains a priority.

“We know many consumers in regional areas find it difficult to check what coverage is available in their area,” says the Commissioner. “Our own analysis shows that assessing geographic coverage with the network operators’ maps is difficult.

“Comparable and accurate coverage information is important for all consumers in making informed choices about their mobile providers, but it is particularly critical for the safety of regional and remote communities.”

The ACCC will continue looking at ways to improve comparability and accuracy of the coverage maps of mobile network operators

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