As telecommunications companies race to fix mobile black spots and cater to an ever-growing capacity for data and broadband, new mobile towers are springing up around the country.
This infrastructure demand means, in turn, that the need for access equipment on towers and associated building work has never been higher. It makes Coates Hire’s recent acquisition of the access and truck assets of Force Corp all the more timely.
“With everyone wanting more data and faster speeds there needs to be more capacity built, and the demand for access equipment is very high,” says National Key Account Manager Kirsty Forno, a former Force Corp employee specialising in the telco sector who has joined Coates Hire.
The buyout of Force Corp took effect on 1 September and delivers more than 3700 access and truck assets to Coates Hire, including about 140 telehandlers and other elevated work platform accessories such as boom lifts and scissor lifts. This further expands Coates Hire’s offering and establishes the company as the largest provider of access equipment in Australia.
The Coates Hire access fleet has about 10,000 items available for hire to customers across Australia, with backing from a team of dedicated product specialists who provide users with the best advice and specialist access solutions.
Forno says telcos such as Telstra and Optus are competing to provide the best possible networks for mobile and broadband customers, resulting in a huge construction effort to build new towers and upgrade older facilities. Mobile connectivity has never been more important, due to the increasing reliance in the community on smartphones and tablets such as iPads.
“There is such a hunger within the consumer market for more and more data — and then you’ve got the National Broadband Network as well, which continues to be rolled out across the country,” Forno says.
Telstra is the biggest player in one of the largest expansions yet of mobile coverage in regional and remote Australia through the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program. The telco will be building 429 new 3G or 4G towers during the next three years, plus 250 4G data-only small cells. The work represents a combined investment of more than $340 million.
In the next 12 months Optus will focus on improving the ‘in-building coverage’ of mobile reception for customers working in offices and shopping centres in capital cities such as Melbourne and Sydney. The telco is also engaging in substantial network improvements in regional cities.
For Coates Hire the program translates as massive requirements for access equipment. Over time Force Corp’s 13 locations will be collapsed into Coates Hire operations.
Coates Hire will employ more than 100 Force Corp employees, including Forno.
She says key customers who formerly used Force Corp fleet access equipment can now use Coates Hire’s extended range of access and material handling equipment from a fleet that includes cherry pickers, scissor lifts and boom lifts. The breadth of Coates Hire’s offering means those customers now also can choose from thousands of other product lines such as generators, earthmoving equipment and specialised tools that can be hired rather than purchased.
“It’s opening up a one-stop shop solution, so I’m really excited for my customers,” Forno says.
The acquisition of Force Corp’s assets is part of Coates Hire’s vision to be the premium equipment solution provider in the Australian market. Forno expects the transition of Force Corp customers to Coates Hire to be smooth, while the extra access equipment assets are likely to appeal to other national companies also across a range of sectors. She adds that Coates Hire’s status as a registered training organisation is also an important factor for customers seeking training and assessment services.
“And overall Coates Hire is best placed to be a one-hire option mainly because the other competitors don’t have the branch networks or access fleets that we do.”