Regional and rural telco Field Solutions Group has launched a mobile network for rural, regional and remote areas across Australia.
The company will be the newest Optus mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). The network is named FSG Regional Australia Network (RAN) to offer broadband, 4G and 5G connectivity, and IoT mobile services.
As part of the launch, FSG will also build, construct, and operate place-based 4G and 5G mobile and broadband networks in regional areas, and will trial domestic roaming with the nationwide Optus mobile network.
“The Regional Australia Network is designed to be deployed in underserviced areas in rural, regional and remote Australia, allowing these communities and businesses to receive services on-par with metro areas,” FSG chief executive Andrew Roberts said.
“The roaming trial will allow us to test the ability for these place-based networks to operate in conjunction with the Optus network nationwide.
“Our business model is significantly community led. We are proud to work with regional communities and businesses to guide the rollout of telecommunications infrastructure where it is needed. Now adding 4G and 5G mobile services delivers the final piece of the
FSG also secured $900,000 in funding from the Federal Government’s Mobile Blackspots Program Round 5a to fund the Optus trial. The trial aims to test and prove if both companies’ customers can roam across each other’s networks.
FSG was also awarded $3.66 million to trial a Neutral Host model, aiming to help reduce the
cost-of-service supply to regional Australia. A further $3.19 million from the Federal Government will be used to finance the construction of 15 new towers across New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland.
The project will commence in August 2021 with FSG going to market to review and select technology partners to participate in the trial. The company expects the services will be released commercially later in the current financial year.
Optus vice president of regulatory and public affairs Andrew Sheridan commented, “As a strong and long-time supporter of the Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program it is fantastic to see more funding going into this important initiative and in particular, support for these innovative trials.
"These trials offer an exciting opportunity, in collaboration with industry partners, to look at new, cost-effective ways to deploy reliable network coverage in regional – and we look forward to working with Field Solutions Group to bring this significant trial to life.”