Telstra has won a $15.6 million federal government contract to improve mobile phone coverage in the bush.
Communications Minister Helen Coonan said the contract will benefit more than 30,000 people in 62 towns in regional and remote areas.
"Following today's announcement, it is estimated that 98 per cent of the Australian population and more than 18 per cent of the Australian landmass will have mobile phone coverage," Senator Coonan said.
Telstra's work to improve mobile phone coverage will begin shortly and is expected to be completed by November 2006.
Senator Coonan said Telstra would be required to maintain services for the areas receiving the improved coverage for at least 10 years.