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Optus Pushes To Overhaul Tower Rules For 5G

Optus, the second largest mobile operator in Australia, urged the government to streamline regulations for deploying telecoms towers to prepare for the rollout of 5G networks, which require more base stations and small cells than existing networks.

In a discussion paper released 5 April, the Singtel-owned company called for the country’s three layers of government supervising mobile tower deployments to simplify the rules into “a consistent, uniform national scheme” which would make deploying 5G networks faster, reported.

The publication quoted Optus VP of regulatory and public affairs Andrew Sheridan as saying: “Current deployment rules are governed by multiple tiers of governments, each with differing compensation schemes, zoning and installation exemptions.”

Sheridan noted the current rules don’t address some of the practical issues required for the mass deployment of 5G small cells.

Optus, with a 32 percent market share by subscribers, also wants to be able to add small cells to existing infrastructure by making “necessary minor and safe modifications”, said.

In its report, Optus noted RANs will require changes including densification and a shift from macro- to small-cells to unlock the “full benefits of 5G”, wrote.

The operator estimated the shorter range of 5G spectrum and the higher capacity means networks will require as many as ten-times more sites in dense urban areas.

In late January the operator detailed plans to begin connecting its first 5G customers through a fixed wireless access service, with three live sites in Canberra and Sydney. Optus said at the time it planned to light 12,000 sites across the country over the next year.―Mobile World Live

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