|Australia's third biggest telco has kicked off a campaign for NBN mobile service, as the government mulls over mobile coverage in regional areas. |
Vodafone says the National Broadband Network is the solution to Australia's mobile coverage problem in rural areas.
NBN Co plans to build around 2000 wireless towers across Australia but Voda says only a "small additional cost" would deliver mobile services via the fibre network, and solve coverage issues in regional areas and eliminate blackspots.
The NBN already has a pricetag of around $41 billion. The costs of adding a mobile service would be incremental and networks would pay for access, so it would provide another revenue stream for NBN Co, Vodafone says.
The telco unveiled research today, Telecommunications in Regional Australia, that finds mobile coverage remained vitally important to regional Australians, with showing eight out of ten in favour of NBN mobile solution to solve coverage issues plaguing these areas.
Eighty-three per cent of rural dwellers want to be able to choose a mobile telco based on customer service and competitive pricing, rather than being forced to go for the only available provider, which is often Telstra.
The issue is currently under review under the Federal government's Mobile Coverage Programme which is currently accepting industry submissions on how to invest $100 million to extend mobile coverage.
"It's clear that consumers want a choice of provider, rather than the monopoly that exists in some areas of regional Australia," claims Vodafone General Manager of Public Policy, Matthew Lobb.
"Right now across regional Australia, many customers don't have access to reliable network coverage and for those who do, a significant number have no choice of provider.
"While this idea seems so obvious now, when the NBN was originally conceived in 2009, there was a strong focus on simply replacing the copper network to deliver a more robust fixed line network."
But, he says, times have changed.
"It's no exaggeration to say that in the years that have followed smartphone and tablet technologies have fundamentally changed the way we communicate. NBN should now focus on improving both fixed and mobile broadband services."