Farmer who can only get phone reception by standing on fence wants timeline for better mobile coverage
Whenever Lynton Barrett wants to make a phone call from his farm, 18 kilometres from Lameroo in South Australia's Murray Mallee region, he has to climb onto his brick fence.  
The sheep and grain producer has not had a landline for more than eight years and his mobile phone is his only means of making calls.
Mr Barrett keeps getting told the tower infrastructure in his region will soon be upgraded but there has been no communication on when. 
Fed up with the problem, he wants a timeline on the reality of his mobile coverage improving in the near future.
Otherwise he said he would invest more than $10,000 in signal boosters  so he would stop having to balance on his garden wall.
"I need to be told if this is going to get better, because if it's not we're going to have to do something ourselves," Mr Barrett said.
"Boosters are very costly  do I put one in my ute, my tractor or my truck, or do I put one in my home?
"But if that's the answer, if it's not going to get better, let us know and we'll do something ourselves."
Despite being less than 10 kilometres from an Adelaide-Sydney freight route, the Mallee Highway, the main problem with Mr Barrett's phone service is inconsistency.
"We can go from one week having minimal service to the next week being quite good, and it's got nothing to do with our phones or the weather."
"At the moment we get told 'It'll get better, it'll get sorted, we'll put more towers up'," he said.
"We're not seeing it, it's not getting any better."
Mobile signal boosters can be an option for people who are living in low coverage areas to increase mobile coverage.
But Mr Barrett said he was concerned about investing in the costly upgrades himself. If the infrastructure is improved by the telcos, it would mean he had  wasted more than $10,000.
Telstra SA regional general manager Michael Patterson said Mr Barrett was located in a 3G network-only area.
"In the short term, a mobile booster and aerial in his vehicle and also his home may help provide an improvement in coverage, as would the use of wi-fi calling inside his home," he said.
Mr Patterson said work would be undertaken in the region before Telstra's 3G network was shut off in June next year.
"Telstra is working towards providing equivalent 4G coverage to places that currently only have 3G [and] that work will be ongoing over the next 11 months," he said.
"Over the next few weeks Telstra will look to do further investigations into coverage in the Lameroo area and will also reach out to Mr Barrett and have a chat about his local situation."

Some experts welcomed the move but were cautious about what it would mean for regional communities. 
Paul Gardner-Stephen is a senior researcher from the Flinders University College of Science and Engineering and said he hoped all existing 3G systems would be replaced with 4G.  
"If they do that well, and put in the right kind of 4G equipment, it will have at least as good coverage, if not better, as the 3G coverage," he said. 
"If the telcos do their job well … then the net result should hopefully be a step up from what we have now." 
We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Australians and Traditional Custodians of the lands where we live, learn, and work.
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