Obituary: One.Tel

In early June 2001, after a period of brief but intense pain, one of the newer entrants to the telecommunications market passed into commercial oblivion.

In its short but spectacular lifetime, One.Tel attracted enormous public and media attention and generated unprecedented community focus on the telecommunications industry.

One of the special qualities that One.Tel brought to the industry was its unique way of liaising with the community regarding the installation of mobile phone antennas.

In many cases it sought to prevent public concern and surprise residents by installing antennas without notifying them. Imagine the surprise of a Beecroft a couple when they returned from a brief holiday to find a brand new mobile phone tower opposite their house! A Sydney doctor and his wife were also surprised when One.Tel erected an antenna on the roof of their flat without any warning. After the couple complained, One.Tel gave them another surprise: a second antenna on the roof of their building.

One.Tel’s consideration for others extended to its colleagues in the telecommunications industry. In some cases the carrier erected its antennas on the masts of other carriers without telling them - to save unnecessary paperwork, no doubt.

They came, they saw, they conquered.

One.Tel was also renowned for its tenacity. At a meeting at Concord Council in early 2000 to discuss the erection of a low impact mobile phone antenna in a commercial area, both council and the community demonstrated their concern about the health impact of the facility and a petition of several thousand signatures opposing the installation was tabled. In the face of what others might have considered daunting opposition, One.Tel expressed its intention to proceed with the installation regardless.

One.Tel will long be remembered for its daring innovation. In May 2000 in the Brisbane suburb of Camp Hill, the carrier erected an antenna without council approval, claiming that it was Low–impact. Unfortunately for One.Tel, council disagreed and the antenna was later dismantled.

One.Tel was the cheeky jester of the telecommunications carriers. It demonstrated its oddball sense of humour time and time again. In some cases it erected its antennas in positions which would expose workers from other carriers during routine maintenance activities. On others, it erected them outside the area of the lease agreement.

No other carrier has created such an impact on the public consciousness in so brief a period of time. No other carrier has galvanised entire communities so regularly, attracted more headlines, and attended more public meetings. Its loss will be keenly felt throughout the nation.

In its wake, the company leaves thousands of irradiating antennas and hundreds of enlivened communities. Farewell, One.Tel. We won’t forget you in a hurry.

EMRAA News June 2001, Vol 6 No 2