29 Jan 2014
By Max Jennings

Network congestion takes a holiday


Well its official – the Aussie love affair with the beach is alive and well! As foreshadowed in my blog before Christmas, this holiday season again saw us heading for the coast in droves.

With the increased concentration of holiday makers along the coastal towns, the related traffic on our mobile network also rises. As part of last year’s network coverage expansion program, we identified which of these coastal towns became hotspots during the holiday season and upgraded the existing base stations with 4G technology.

While we have carried out some capacity upgrades to our 3G network, the growing numbers of 4G devices meant that it made more sense to do most of our network capacity expansion using 4G technology.

The investments we have made in our network are paying off and we had no cases of major congestion in these areas this year. In terms of performance, 97% of these holiday hotspots were achieving good performance ratings over the peak holiday period. This was despite the huge increases in network traffic.

Sorrento, Victoria experienced an almost 750% increase in traffic* on our 3G network which was the highest anywhere in Australia. The award for the biggest increase* on our 4G network goes to Dunsborough, South West WA which leapt by almost 500% during the same time. Pretty impressive for a town that has a population of less than 3,500 people!

In the other states we saw our 4G network traffic triple in Robe, South Australia, double in Bateman’s Bay, New South Wales and increase over one and a half times in Surfers Paradise, Queensland.

We’ll continue to monitor and assess all the network traffic demands in all locations with the aim of maintaining and improving performance as required.

Wilson’s Promontory, Victoria is one site where network demand can present challenges in the peak summer season. Despite this, a number of non-Telstra customers were spotted queued up to purchase a Telstra prepaid SIM in Tidal River.

The top five holiday destinations (by state) as seen by the increase in network activity

Victoria holiday hotspots - click for full image

WA holiday hotspots - click for full image

SA holiday hotspots - click for full image

NSW holiday hotspots - click for full image

QLD holiday hotspots - click for full image



Posts: 6


  1. Fran says:

    Bridport in Tassie was great with the new 4G, but there’ sea whisper around the village that it is to be disconnected after the summer rush! Is this true?

    • Jamie (Editor) says:

      Hello Fran, thanks for your comment. We are pleased to say that this is definitely not true. :)

  2. Liski says:

    It was great to see 4G in Nelson Bay, NSW which made this year’s holiday so much better for music streaming and chatting to friends and family OS.

  3. Damien says:

    So what about Australia’s various stadiums and event centres?
    Everytime I am in Homebush or the SCG during an event (V8s, concert, cricket) I experience poor voice performance, unreliable data connection, and messages that take upwards of 20 minutes to be transmitted.
    If Telstra is ‘…[continuing] to monitor and assess all the network traffic demands in all locations with the aim of maintaining and improving performance as required…’, then why have event centres been ignored for years?

    • Jamie (Editor) says:

      Hi Damien, We closely monitor the performance of all locations and for every single event. The good news is that the increased number of 4G devices has resulted in good 4G performance at a number of stadium and event centres. The Australian Open in Melbourne and Australian – England Ashes tests over the summer are good examples of this.

      At peak times though, customers may still experience slower than expected data or an inability to connect a call so we’d encourage our customers to wait a few minutes and try again. Just as the bars and bathrooms experience a heavier demand at times, so too does the mobile network.

      Thanks, Jamie

  4. Ellen says:

    Northern ends of the Central Coast NSW -- above Wyong- have been ignored for years. Time for something other than bandaid approaches to be done to improve services for residents and tourists

    • Jamie (Editor) says:

      Hello Ellen,

      We are constantly reviewing our network mobile coverage, which covers 99.3 per cent of the Australian population, to identify areas for improvement.

      We are progressively rolling out 4G to sites in this area with a number of existing base stations already activated with 4G technology. These include Budgewoi, Gwandalan, Mannering Park, and Buff Point with more sites being activated in the coming months.

      In addition, a new 3G site in Watanobbi (just north of Wyong) was rolled out in October 2013 to improve coverage and provide capacity relief to the surrounding areas.


  5. Graham says:

    Nice to hear that Telstra is so worried about holiday congestion. My local exchange has permanent congestion and Telstra refuse to do anything about it even after my complaint to the communications ombudsman. 600Kb/sec (dialup speed) is pathetic. Come on Telstra, fix the REAL problems first. If I had any other choice, I wouldn’t use Telstra. They know I have no choice and that’s why they won’t bother giving me and other customers in my area the ADSL service we pay for.

  6. Dione says:

    Dunsborough, WA hosts the annual Southbound music festival. This year is was held on the Weekend of the 3-5th of Jan.

  7. Duane says:

    So where’s Tasmania?????

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