As the mercury starts to rise at this time of year, people around the country are starting to plan their escape routes out of the cities to their favourite holiday destination over the Christmas and New Year break.

During the summer holidays, network traffic has been seen to double or triple in most popular holiday hotspots compared to network usage over the winter months. Conversely, as workers take time off to soak in the sun or spend time with the family, network traffic in major cities can fall by around 30% over the break.

The migration of network traffic starts before Christmas and extends through the New Year period and, depending on the popularity of the holiday location, will start to subside from around mid- January, returning to normal around the Australia Day weekend which marks the unofficial end to the holiday period.

And with shiny new devices waiting under the Christmas tree for some lucky people, I am sure we will see even more activity, more people and more devices come onto Telstra’s network this holiday season.

To keep up with the influx of holiday goers into coastal towns, and with our aim of helping our customers enjoy the same quality of service they are used to during the year, we have been busy upgrading the network and boosting capacity in over 70 holiday hotspots across Australia.

Some of the popular destinations that received additional coverage in the Holiday Hotspot program include Sorrento, Phillip Island, Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Margaret River, and the Yorke Peninsula.

Since last Christmas, we have completed extensive 4G and 4GX expansions across the country. The 70+ holiday hotspot locations covered in the program have received an average 4G capacity uplift of more than 35 percent including a boost in 4GX capacity at over 60 of the towns in the program.

The Holiday Hotspots program has contributed to us delivering the mobile network without equal. With two thirds of our sites now 4G enabled, we are providing 4G coverage to 96% of the population. There are more than 8.1 million 4G devices on our network, including 3.6million 4GX handsets, 850,000 of which are capable of speeds greater than 300Mbps (Cat 6 or higher).

Additionally, you can also access free Wi-Fi this summer on Telstra Air. Mobile only customers on eligible pre-paid and post-paid plans can join the Telstra Air Network for the first time and enjoy unlimited free Wi-Fi until 30 June 2016.

The Telstra Air Network comprises Telstra Wi-Fi hotspots at thousands of selected pink payphone sites and retail stores, as well as hotspots created by our Telstra Air members, known as ‘homespots’.

While our mobile network upgrade work will assist in managing holiday period demand, just as the parking lot at the supermarket gets full during peak times, if everyone tries to make a call or use data at the same time it may be hard for everyone to connect. These peak times are generally around lunchtime and early evening.

All in all, we hope you enjoy the summer and stay connected on Telstra’s Mobile Network Without Equal.