Exclusive: Telstra To Provide Coverage To Splendour In The Grass

After two days of protracted and public negotiation by media, Telstra has informed us that it in fact will be providing two satellite COW stations to the Splendour in the Grass music festival. Coverage for all!

Telstra has raided its emergency supply of Cell on Wheels units and found two units it can provide to Splendour in the Grass free of charge.

This news is so fresh that Splendour reportedly hasn't even been told yet.

Splendour organisers told attendees last week to check their phone before they showed up with their tents, adding that Telstra customers could expect limited mobile phone coverage at the event.

In previous years, Telstra had provided its Cell On Wheels (COW) units to Splendour for no cost. This year because of commercial constraints and the effort that went into getting the festival area covered, Telstra was looking to be paid for the venture.

Telstra and Splendour walked away from the negotiating table over costs for a 4G antenna, which meant that Telstra customers would have gone without voice and data coverage.

This evening, Telstra backflipped on the decision and decided to raid its emergency supply of COW stations for Splendour in the Grass. The emergency stations are usually used in bushfire situations when critical infrastructure is unusable.

As a result of the decision, Telstra customers at Splendour can now expect 3G/Next G voice and data coverage. The only catch is that the 4G antenna that served as a sticking point in the negotiations won't be provided.

Telstra still wants to work together with Splendour organisers for a "more permanent" solution going forward.

Here's Telstra's full statement:

As we indicated yesterday, we’re aware of how important mobile coverage is to our customers and we would do everything we can to ensure our customers attending the Splendour in the Grass event have the best experience.
We have reviewed the availability of some of our temporary CoWs normally used for emergency responses, and will be able to provide two Satellite Cells on Wheels for the Splendour in the Grass event.
This temporary infrastructure will provide 3G mobile coverage for Telstra customers attending the event – voice and data.
However, these temporary facilities may not provide capacity to support the busiest periods during the festival, so we ask our customers to be patient during these times, wait a few minutes and try again.
We’ll also continue to talk to the event organisers about a more suitable permanent solution for future years (which was our intent with discussions this year)

Image via Shutterstock


Comments

    Moral of the story, Bitch about us and we will change our minds.

      Never take no for an answer!

        As we indicated yesterday, we’re aware of how important mobile coverage is to our customers and we would do everything we can to ensure our customers attending the Splendour in the Grass event have the best experience.

        But they were still willing to say to the organisers that they wouldn't provide coverage unless they paid them for the privilege - good on the SITG folks for calling their bluff!

        More like never take "Sure, that'll be $300,000 please!" for an answer :P

        (i made that number up)

          satellite costs are massive. Immersat/Iridium carrier/wholesale prices are insane.

          I can see why Telstra were pushing to get paid...its not there fault 40,000 people decided to congregate in the one place

    Soo can they do something about the over saturation of their data network that Soundwave experiences..?

      If you can make a call and send an SMS to find your friends at a festival, that's enough of a miracle. You don't need to be posting checkins to each stage or browsing facebook.

        Well some stuff just won't work without data sometimes like the Soundwave app which has been updated on the day...

    Here's hoping no emergencies crop up. Although I'm sure Gizmodo will make ample use if one does.

    It'll go something like "Telstra shouldn't have supplied COWs if they didn't have enough in reserve for emergencies."

      I'm more curious why they had to supposedly look around for spares and use those usually marked for emergencies... if they didn't have any available anyway, what were they goingto charge SITG for??? For the emergency ones of course...

    Last I checked none of the Australian providers provided voice over LTE (4G)
    3G still does data and with the numbers at the festival you were never going to get a good performance out of a portal 4G antenta.

    Or did everyone forget about the Optus/Voda 3G crash a couple of weeks ago.

    Last edited 03/07/14 11:19 am

      They still don't at the moment, but the trials are happening and voice over LTE will be coming.

      In years from now, all voice will be over LTE where possible as it's much cheaper for the carriers to provide, After the initial capital investment, the carriers will be saving a lot of money from LTE

    4G/LTE wouldn't be provided at this event if the COWs are using Satelite as they wouldn't provide enough bandwidth. (and the latency over satelite is higher)

    I'm surprised that all of these articles mentioned 4G so much, when Optus/Voda will probably only provide 3G coverage as well.

    so, I have to pay inflated prices to telstra in order to defray the cost of providing coverage to drunk and stoned facebook addicts at SITG?

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