I have worked in Telstra’s networks for over 30 years, and every so often I’ll get asked what keeps me excited – the answer is always the same. The constantly evolving technology and what this means for our customers.
Last week at Telstra we switched on our 1000th 4G site, extending the benefits of LTE technology to Mackay in Queensland. It is phenomenal to think that we have reached this milestone when it was one year ago to the day that we announced that the first 4G LTE base stations had been switched on.
In the past year we have brought 4G speeds to over 100 regional and metropolitan hubs including Australia’s eight capital city CBDs (5km from the GPO). But it’s not just our 4G coverage that excites me (though offering typical upload speeds of 2Mbps – 40Mbps to over forty per cent of the population is no mean feat!), it’s also the role we played in stimulating the worldwide development of LTE in the 1800 MHz band that brought LTE technology to Australia possibly years ahead of when it would have otherwise happened. The consequential development of the LTE 1800 device ecosystem has resulted in the range of 4G devices we now offer our customers.
When we launched our 4G services in September 2011 we offered a mobile broadband dongle. Nine months on and we offer our customers a full range of 4G enabled products, including four smartphones, an ultra-fast tablet and a wifi hotspot. Whichever way Telstra customers want to use our 4G network, we have as solution for them, and there is more to come.
Of course our 4G network is integrated into our leading edge Next G® network, which covers over 2.2 million square kilometres of the Australian landmass, and offers service to more than 99 per cent of the population. If a customer on a 4G device moves from a 4G enabled area, they’ll automatically switch to our fastest available 3G technology. This includes the latest generation DC-HSPA enabled 3G technology in all capital CBDs, associated airports, much of the associated metropolitan areas and may regional areas covering 60% of the population and beyond that our super fast HSPA+ and HSDPA enabled 3G networks, this is the secret sauce that allows us to deliver a more consistent and reliable experience regardless of the technology in use.
The integration of 4G technology into our existing wireless networks is fundamental to our ability to meet customer demand for mobile data. We have seen more than 2.5 million mobile customers move to the Telstra network in the past 18 months. Data usage on our mobile broadband networks is doubling every year. So it’s not just greater speeds that our customers are benefitting from with our deployment of 4G technology – it’s also the added capacity that LTE provides as new customers adopt the latest devices.
That’s what gets me up in the mornings.