Australia's biggest operator, Telstra, has bought spectrum for 1400 new sites in rural and remote areas of the country.
The incumbent has purchased 2.1GHz band spectrum licenses from regulator ACMA in order to add data capacity to its 3G network.
Telstra COO Michael Rocca said the extra spectrum is essential to keeping up with transmission demands on the nationwide network.
“Data carried on the Next G network is doubling every 12 months. Over half of this traffic is driven by regional and remote users,” he said. “These new licenses are fundamental to our ability to continue to meet our customers’ demand for reliable wireless broadband.”
The Next G network currently has around 7,000 base stations. Telstra boasts a coverage of around 99% of Australia.
ACMA has issued the frequencies as part of a reallocation of idle spectrum in regional areas. It used the same mechanism to grant rival Optus licenses to 963 sites in August.
An ACMA spokesperson said the terms of Telstra's transaction are confidential, but that the licenses have been allocated on PMTS Class B license terms. These specify an annual tax of $0.06 for each paired MHz of spectrum per head of population in each area.
The regulator plans to allocate more licenses in the 2GHz band in areas outside Australia’s main cities and is now accepting applications.