The ACCC has published a report that looks at the mobile infrastructure and coverage maps of Telstra, Optus and TPG, breaking it out into 3G, 4G and 5G sites.
Australia’s three mobile network operators, the ACCC said, made significant investments in mobile infrastructure between January 2018 and January 2021. It said the focus of Telstra, Optus and TPG has, obviously, moved to 5G deployment predominantly in the major cities.
Between 2020 and 2021, the three providers collectively added a total of 1,005 new sites across their three networks. A majority of these new sites were deployed in major cities, where Optus deployed the greatest number of new sites (238 new sites), closely followed by TPG (236 new sites). Telstra added the lowest number of new sites in major cities (174 new sites).
Let’s take a look at what the ACCC’s first Mobile Infrastructure Report says.
Telstra sites (3G, 4G and 5G)
Telstra currently has 10,766 sites in total. This is up 3 per cent from 2020, with 407 new sites joining the total this year. The sites are comprised of 9,305 3G sites, 9,691 4G sites and 2,695 5G sites. 2,252 of those 5G sites are in major cities in Australia, while 346 are in what the ACCC has labelled ‘inner regional Australia’, 92 are in ‘outer regional Australia’ and 5 are in ‘remote Australia’. Telstra has no sites in ‘very remote Australia’.
28.3 per cent of Telstra’s total sites are co-funded.
Optus sites (3G, 4G and 5G)
With the second most sites, Optus has a total of 8,238, up 3.2 per cent from last year. 337 new sites were added in 2021. The sites are comprised of 7,893 3G sites, 8,011 4G sites and 1,010 5G sites. 975 of those 5G sites are in major cities in Australia, while 35 are in inner regional Australia. Optus has no sites in outer regional Australia, remote Australia or very remote Australia.
5.6 per cent of Optus’ total sites are co-funded.
TPG sites (3G, 4G and 5G)
Lastly, TPG now has 5,892 sites, after adding 261 new sites this year. There are 5,587 3G sites for TPG, 5,781 4G sites and 163 5G sites. With only 163 5G sites, the breakdown for TPG is 161 in major cities and 2 in inner regional Australia.
None of TPG’s sites are co-funded.
While looking at coverage maps is an easy way we can determine coverage, as ZDNet points out, telco coverage maps are unreliable at the best of times, mostly because there’s a mixed interpretation of record keeping rules and how coverage is reported.