For me Christmas is about spending time with my family and friends, eating delicious food, unwrapping presents and enjoying some well-earned time off.

Not everyone can spend Christmas with their loved ones. Personally, I’ll be missing my sister in-law and her family who live interstate and who are unable to travel. I am typical of thousands of people across Australia who can’t spend the holidays with all the people they would love to see.

We recently surveyed people from around Australia and found that over 60 per cent will spend Christmas without loved ones they would otherwise love to see. Of the 1,500 people surveyed, 42 per cent said they live too far away from friends and family and 14 per cent said work obligations will be the reason they’re apart these holidays.

Technology is helping people find ways to connect at Christmas, even if they are apart. With more than 70 per cent of Australian mobile phone users now using a smartphone people can share those special moments like unwrapping the Christmas presents or Dad dancing around the house to Christmas carols.

Our survey revealed that the average Aussie is expecting to send eight SMSs to close friends, four to extended family, and three to close family members on Christmas day.

The survey also revealed that mum still rules at Christmas with 31 per cent of Aussies saying they will make their first Christmas day call to their mum, and 22 per cent will make it to their significant other and 22 per cent of parents will call their son or daughter.

I’ll be driving down to Anglesea with my family to visit my parents and extended family over the Christmas holiday period. It’s a great time, after a busy year, for us all to relax and spend some time together down by the beach. With Anglesea now upgraded to 4G we’ll also have no trouble sharing every moment with other family members and friends wherever they are – pictures or videos of my son learning to ride his new bike, my daughter practicing her swimming or my youngest dancing around the house to Christmas carols!

Network traffic over the holiday period

Telstra is set to be Australia’s favourite Network this Christmas with record traffic expected across the Telstra Mobile Network. Almost eight in ten Aussies who will be away from their loved ones reach for their mobile phone to connect with friends and family by placing calls, trading text messages, posting to Facebook and sharing picture messages.

We predict this Christmas Telstra customers will:

  • Send 136 million SMS messages between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day – up 13 per cent on last year.
  • Send 8 million MMS messages – up 50% on last year
  • Make 19.9 million phone calls over Telstra Mobile Fixed line phones on Christmas Day.

Connecting at Christmas is of course only easy on a great network. We’re really conscious that more people than ever will be using the Telstra Mobile Network to connect with their loved ones. That’s one of the reasons why we’ve just finished expanding our 4G coverage to 85 per cent of the population. That means we’re in a great position to support all of those picture messages, posts to Facebook and video chats we expect to carry on Christmas Day.

However you end up connecting this Christmas, I wish you a happy and safe time with your loved ones.