Getting your tent ready for this year’s Splendour In The Grass music festival? It might be worth picking up an Optus or Vodafone SIM while you’re at it: Telstra users are going to struggle for coverage at the event.
According to a notice sent out to all Splendour attendees, checking who your phone is with is just as important as making sure your air bed doesn’t have holes in it this year, especially if you’re a Telstra customer.
Telstra prides itself on having coverage just about everywhere, but according to festival organisers, Telstra customers will be just about out of luck at the nation’s largest music weekend.
Organisers have warned:
“Telstra customers will have very limited mobile phone coverage at Splendour. It will be difficult to get a signal to make calls, download or upload any data. You will struggle!”
On the flipside, however, Vodafone and Optus customers will be in luck and can expect great coverage and better 4G speeds.
So why is coverage with Telstra lacking at this year’s festival?
According to organisers, phone companies normally roll out COWs to cope with demand. A COW is a Cell On Wheels which can be deployed to areas where towers have been destroyed by natural disasters or where demand is likely to be high (a music festival for example).
The COW can provide 3G and 4G coverage and capacity for the area to help serve areas that are over capacity. Telstra had rolled out its COWs to Splendour last year, but this year the telco won’t be in attendance.
The organisers say that it’s because of cost: Telstra’s is just too damn high.
“We have been in discussions with Telstra since [September] 2013 and early on they committed to providing free COWs as they did for Splendour’s 2013 event. Only last month Telstra withdrew this commitment and provided us with a prohibitive quote to supply these COWs.
“While we are committed to providing you with the best Splendour experience possible, we are not in a position to pay many hundreds of thousands of dollars for a service that actually generates revenue for Telstra,” organisers wrote.
We’ve reached out to Telstra to see if it’s interested in lowering its quote for the festival so its customers can be adequately served. There’s still time for the two to work it out, however, considering the festival isn’t until the end of the month.
It might be worth picking up a $2 Vodafone SIM card for the weekend, however.
Concert picture from Shutterstock