The West

$40m for stronger phone signal

The mobile phone coverage battle between the three big telcos looks set to heat up, with the State Government offering up to $45 million to help increase coverage in the bush.

Under its Royalties for Regions budget spend, the $45 million contract will be put out to tender, with the money to be allocated over the next four years.

The funding is aimed at boosting dodgy mobile phone coverage along country highways, with the Government claiming special attention for "broadband accessibility in regional and remote communities" and wireless data.

Poor mobile data coverage in remote areas is a bugbear of WA farmers, who increasingly rely on mobile apps for farm work.

The funding commitment follows on from $40 million for a similar project in 2012. That contract was won by Telstra, which built additional infrastructure it claimed had delivered "$106 million of value, including 113 new mobile base stations".

After yesterday's announcement Vodafone, which is known for its patchy regional coverage, called for the contract to be "open access" and for the money to go to more than one provider.

The West Australian

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