David Littlerpoud MP David Littlerpoud

Mobile coverage reliability needs government intervention

January 9, 2023

Leader of The Nationals David Littleproud is calling for government intervention to ensure Australians inregional and remote areas have adequate mobile coverage, because telcos have failed to provide anadequate service. Mr Littleproud said extending and reforming the Universal Service Guarantee (USG) tomobile phones from landlines and introducing mandated mobile roaming in 2023 was essential to grow theregions and protect lives.

“In 2023, communication has never been more important,” Mr Littleproud said.

“It’s critical as a safety and emergency response, enabling better commerce, business and social interactionin areas of limited network coverage.”

Mr Littleproud said he supported the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) recentdecision to rule out a 10-year mobile infrastructure sharing deal with Telstra and TPG Telecom becausemore than 700 towers would have been lost. Mandating roaming in regional and remote areas, however,would share all the towers between all the telcos, which in turn, would maintain and improve coverage andcompetition.

Mr Littleproud said the former Coalition Government funded more than 1200 new or upgraded mobilebase stations under their Mobile Phone Black Spot Program, which the telcos benefited from. He said therenow needed to be regulatory guidelines to make sure they could be used by all Australians, no matter whattelco they were with.

Mr Littleproud said if mandated domestic roaming in rural areas was introduced in concert with reforms tothe USG that extended to mobile service and removed the averaging provisions that currently allowsTelstra – the recipient of the $270 million in USG funding – to have landline customers without phones formonths, then services would improve.

“The USG isn’t working and needs reform, which was highlighted in the Regional TelecommunicationsReview handed down just before the federal election, yet the new government has made no commitmentto implementing its recommendations.

“Telcos should also be forced to maintain mobile towers, not just landlines. Unfortunately, the October2022 Budget also revealed cuts to regional telecommunications despite the urgent need for


The former Coalition Government directed an ACCC inquiry into mobile roaming, to focus on the costs andaccess to telecommunications towers and facilities. Mr Littleproud encouraged those living in rural andremote locations to complete the online survey:


“I’m urging our regional communities to provide input into the consultation process, open until Februaryand prior to the publication of the Regional Mobile Infrastructure Inquiry draft report in April, 2023.”