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Staying connected while on holidays


Posted on December 19, 2013

3 min read

With the holiday season fast approaching, we will soon hit the peak migration period for Australians. Summer and, in particular, the festive season is when we are mostly likely to travel with or travel to visit our families and friends. For many this time of year is part of our annual holiday from work or school.

When I think about the technological advances since my children were small, I feel quite envious of parents who no longer need to rely solely on I-spy for in-car entertainment. Smart phones, tablets and other devices have revolutionised not only the way we work but the way we entertain ourselves and they provide almost endless entertainment options for those long holiday drives. Every day we see wireless technology being used in new and innovative ways, so what are we doing to deliver a network that supports a growing number of devices and how do we provide the reliability our customers expect?

This week, we completed our 4G upgrade of more than 3500 base stations, expanding our 4G coverage to 85% of the Australian population. This expansion means that Telstra’s 4G coverage is now available in more than 300 towns across Australia, including many popular holiday hotspots.

Outside of our expanded 4G coverage, our customers will still enjoy access to our extensive 3G coverage reaching over 99.3 percent of Australians and a landmass of over 2.3 million square kilometres –significantly larger than any other mobile network in Australia.

Our Cells on Wheels (or CoWs) will be deployed across the country as additional network support at a number of key summer events such as the New Year’s Eve celebrations and Festival in Sydney, and the falls festivals in Lorne, Victoria and Marion Bay, Tasmania to name but a few.

Analysis of our network traffic shows that the majority of people head towards coastal towns for their holiday. According to our network statistics almost 95% of Australia’s popular holiday destinations* are located on the coast.

This surge in network traffic historically starts during the Christmas and New Year period and, depending on the town or location, will start to subside in early to mid-January. The official end to the holiday period as far as our network is concerned is Australia Day.

Generally, the increase in network traffic can vary between double and to up to 10 times the normal network traffic in some places. As part of our 4G coverage expansion, we’ve targeted these towns and upgraded the existing base stations with 4G.

With growing numbers of 4G devices on our network, and with the expectation that many more Telstra customers will find a new 4G device under the Xmas tree this year, it makes sense to do most of our network capacity expansion using 4G technology.

At peak times though, customers may still experience slower than expected data. Just as the beaches and ice cream shops are busier than usual at this time of year so too is our mobile network. If you find your service isn’t performing as it usually does, I’d encourage you to wait a few minutes and try again.

QLD holiday hotspots – click to enlarge

Above: QLD holiday hotspots, including Harvey Bay and Proserpine (full version)

NSW holiday hotspots – click to enlarge

Above: NSW holiday hotspots, including Byron Bay and Port Macquarie (full version)

VIC holiday hotspots – click to enlarge

Above: VIC holiday hotspots, including Ocean Grove and Apollo Bay (full version)

*As measured by network traffic growth.