It is important for travellers to check mobile phone coverage as some areas within Australia are only accessible using satellite phones.
Given the geographic factors, and the relatively sparse populations in many regional areas, there will always be large areas of Australia that do not receive terrestrial-based mobile phone coverage, in fact 80% of the country does not have access to mobile phone coverage.
In areas that are sparsely populated or have little passing traffic, the only commercially viable option for mobile phone services is via satellite. Satellite mobile phone services cover the entire Australian landmass and population and are available from a number of providers.
Even where terrestrial mobile phone services are available, there may be areas where it is not possible to obtain a signal. There are a number of factors that can interfere with mobile reception and therefore affect a user's ability to obtain or maintain a mobile phone signal at any given time or in any particular place. These factors include mountainous or hilly terrain, road cuttings, buildings and tunnels.
In order to maximise mobile phone coverage when travelling it is important to plan ahead, check what coverage will be available in particular areas, and ensure that you have the right equipment.
To determine what coverage is available, check the coverage maps provided online by the mobile phone carriers.
In order to identify the best mobile phone technology, investigate what coverage is available in the areas of interest, then select the most appropriate technology (i.e. GSM, 3G or satellite) to meet your needs.
For more information visit the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.