Publicly listed rural and regional telecommunications carrier Field Solutions Group (FSG) is gearing up to roll out what it refers to as Australia’s fourth 4G/5G network, in partnership with Nokia and Mavenir as its primary technology partners.
Specifically, Nokia and Mavenir together will supply FSG with 4G and 5G radio access networks and mobile core. For its part, Mavenir will provide the 4G/5G converged packet core, as well as IP multimedia subsystem (IMS) voice and messaging services.
Combined, Nokia and Mavenir will power FSG’s neutral host and domestic roaming trials under MBSP5A – the federal government’s Mobile Black Spot Program Round 5A.
The rollout of FSG’s so-called Regional Australia Network [RAN] will commence in the 2023 financial year, according to the carrier, with the company hoping to deliver its 4G/5G mobile network in rural, regional and remote areas, as well as private 4G/5G networks for agribusiness, mining and government.
“FSG has run a comprehensive six-month RFP [request for proposal] process to select the most appropriate technology partners for the rollout of the Regional Australia Network,” said FSG CEO Andrew Roberts. “FSG has selected these partners to ensure we have the cost-effective, future proof and globally proven technology platform needed to deliver Australia’s fourth mobile network.
“Together with our new partners – Nokia and Mavenir – FSG is primed to deliver connectivity to regions whilst offering capability for carriers to join the solution using active neutral host RAN, inbound roaming or ‘old school’ passive co-location on our purpose-built infrastructure,” he added.
By embracing new models, it was claimed, the cost to deliver the solutions could be kept to a minimum. FSG is in the process of delivering 19 new place-based networks across Australia, with the networks comprising of over 100 individual sites, each of which will be 4G and 5G capable, neutral host and roaming ready when delivered in FY23 and FY24.
“The Regional Australia Network is a dedicated network supporting rural Australia,” Roberts noted. “Today, we operate Australia’s largest non-NBN [National Broadband Network] fixed wireless network, which delivers fixed wireless broadband across rural, regional and remote Australia.
“The Regional Australia Network will see these current and all new networks being enabled to delivery 4G and 5G data and voice services, fixed wireless broadband together with NB-IoT and Cat-M1 services," he added.
The agreement struck between the two companies revolved around an initial consideration of around $13 million on a debt-free, cash free basis, or roughly $12 million net, with an additional earn out consideration of up to $2 million.
At the time, FSG planned to leverage TasmaNet’s private cloud and managed services capability across Australia.