Telstra’s 4GX-lite solution harnesses satellite broadband and a tower to extend 4GX-lite services to blackspots.

The first 4GX-lite customer is Winton Shire Council in outback Queensland. Mayor, Cr Gavin Baskett, said, “The Satellite Small Cell solution is innovative in its approach. It provides people with the ability to identify where they need mobile coverage. They can then work with Telstra to deliver it.”

“We’re a remote area, driven by rural industry and tourism. These are industries where mobile coverage can provide so much regarding innovation, connectivity and safety. We look forward to getting our two Satellite Small Cells installed and operational so that we can connect our people,” said Baskett.

“We’ll be using the Satellite Small Cell to bring 4GX-lite coverage to parts of the Winton shire for the first time and to help grow tourism in the area,” he added.

What is 4GX-lite?

The Telstra 4GX-lite Mobile Satellite Small Cell is a smaller, lower cost version of a standard mobile base station using satellite instead of fibre backhaul. It gives access to Telstra’s 4GX-lite service.

4GX-liteUsing Telstra’s exclusive 700Mhz band, it delivers most of the benefits of its 4GX service including voice calls, text, email, browsing and basic data. It does not have a 3G component. Voice calls need VoLTE enabled phones.

The Satellite Small Cell is funded by co-contributions from Telstra and the customer. The customer pays the cost of installation. Telstra builds and maintains the small cell. This reduces the cost from hundreds of thousands of dollars for a new base station to tens of thousands.

A total of 16 trial sites will be on air by July 2018. Telstra hopes to deliver up to 500 Satellite Small Cells over the next three years.

Mike Wright, Group Managing Director Networks said the Satellite Small Cell was an exciting new option. It enables communities and businesses to gain access to mobile coverage. It overcomes the challenges of providing mobile coverage to very remote locations.

“We want all Australians to have the opportunity to connect to our mobile network so they can embrace the benefits mobile coverage brings. We know this is a particular frustration for many businesses and communities in regional areas who want to use the innovative technology on offer to grow their businesses or connect their people,” said Wright.