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)
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