Australian mobile network operator (MNO) Optus has announced what it claims is the ‘largest regional capital expenditure programme in [its] 25 year history’. Outlining its plans, the company revealed via press release that it will spend AUD1 billion (USD794 million) to improve and expand its infrastructure in regional Australia by the end of June 2018. This funding will reportedly build on Optus’ ongoing investment programme, under which it said it had spent more than AUD3.6 billion on its mobile network since 2015.
In terms of the specific intentions for the newly-announced investment, the MNO has said it aims to: construct 500 new mobile sites across regional and remote parts of Australia, including 114 sites under the Federal Government’s Mobile Blackspots Programme; complete a 4G upgrade programme which will see more than 1,800 3G sites enabled with LTE technology; add additional 4G capacity to more than 200 sites; meet the cost of spectrum licences in regional areas; and continue the rollout of satellite small cell technology, which provides mobile voice and data services to remote areas of Australia, building on Optus’ existing rollout of 30 small cell sites across regional Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory.
Commenting on the matter, Optus CEO Allen Lew said: ‘This represents one of the single largest investments in regional mobile infrastructure in Australia’s history. Optus’ funding is earmarked to expand coverage and improve overall network performance for residents, businesses, and our wholesale partners. It will also help build the network resilience that is critical to supporting public safety and emergency services during natural disasters.’