REGULATED roaming within the telecommunications industry would put at risk future investment in the regions, says Telstra northern area manager Mike Marom.
Mr Marom was in Bathurst this week to spruik Telstra 4GX upgrades at eight of the 10 local base stations that will mean increased capacity for the local mobile network and more consistent data speeds.
But he also took the chance to raise concerns over an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission study into whether telecommunications giants should be forced to use the same network infrastructure.
Mr Marom said such a move – known as roaming – would reduce competition and place Telstra’s future investment in the local mobile network at risk.
“Vodafone has been very public in its pro-roaming stance as they spend very little money in regional markets where our position, and the position of Optus, is it’s not good for regional markets,” he said.
Vodafone has been very public in its pro-roaming stance as they spend very little money in regional markets.Telstra northern area general manager Mike Marom
Mr Marom said 4GX service upgrades had been completed at eight local mobile bases – at Kelso, Hampton Park Road, Bathurst CBD, Windradyne, Boundary Road, Mount Panorama, Kalamunda State Forest and Yetholme – with upgrades also planned at West Bathurst and Duramana.
He said the introduction of 5G mobile services would be a fundamental shift able to deliver data bandwidth in the terrabyte range.
“It has some unique properties that we’re testing at the moment, you can actually have a dedicated beam to a device,” Mr Marom said.
“A normal network is signal which is out there and you can capture that signal. Rather than have energy expanded out into a general signal, it becomes quite specific.”
Telstra will trial 5G during the Commonwealth Games in 2018, but regional customers were not likely to see it before 2020.
Mr Marom said 4GX and 5G would complement the National Broadband Network (NBN).
“There is a need for both a land-based fixed technology which is what NBN offers and there’s a very critical need for technology that will give you real-time access to data and information to make decisions in the field,” he said.
Mr Marom assured Telstra customers they worked with the NBN when it came to congestion.
“With any network there’s always the challenges of congestion and we continually work, whether it’s with NBN or whether it’s our own network, to understand where those points of congestion are and to provide the relevant backhaul in order to fix it.”