Network |

Connecting our 700th mobile black spot to the future

By Nikos Katinakis November 4, 2020

It’s amazing what we can achieve when we come together. Four years ago, hundreds of thousands square kilometres around our nation were off the grid when it came to mobile phone coverage. Now thanks to our hard work with the Federal Government on the Mobile Black Spot Program, we’ve lit up 700 4G sites to bring the promise of the digital future to more Australians than ever.

Having mobile phone coverage means more for a town than just letting them binge-watching Netflix, too. Arrowsmith East locals are now able to make calls to each other around town, meaning they don’t have to take the trek up steep hills to get service. That means they can make quicker decisions about how, where and when to move livestock, and get updated weather reports faster than ever.

It affects people like Craig and Ray Morgan: a father-and-son farming team who have worked the land at Arrowsmith East since 1967. The Morgans live on the land where the new mobile site is located, and they’ve told us it makes a wonderful difference to their quality of life.

Ray, 76, said that “having a mobile phone is an important part of a bloke’s business”, and now we can help him get down to business faster and smarter.

For these communities, mobile coverage has meant the ability to do the simple things, EFTPOS transactions, call and message with family and fast mobile broadband to stream and download content. It connects businesses to the digital economy in ways that can supercharge businesses at a time when they need it most.

And it brings people together. More than 194,000 square kilometres of new or improved coverage has been switched on nationally as a result of the investments in the Mobile Black Spot Program.

Additionally, 5600 kilometres of new or improved highway coverage along some of Australia’s busiest, longest and most isolated trucking and tourism routes is now operational thanks to the Mobile Black Spot Program.

That coverage can also help to save lives. 45,000 emergency 000 calls have been made in the time we’ve been working on the Mobile Black Spot Program. There had been a time in the past when those calls could not have been placed, and we’re dedicated to making sure more Australians can get the help they need when they need it most. The new tower at Arrowsmith East also covers a 100km hazardous route between Mingenew and Eneabba, meaning motorists and travellers can get help if they need it.

When the Mobile Black Spot Program started, hundreds of towns were crying out for mobile coverage. Thanks to the hard work of our people, and just shy of a $300 million investment, we have completed five rounds of the Mobile Black Spot Program and built more than 700 towers.

Our 700th is now live in Arrowsmith East in Western Australia. It too is now enjoying the benefits of connectivity that a lot of us take for granted in this country.

Arrowsmith East joins rural towns around the country in joining the digital economy. From Eggs and Bacon Bay to The Pub With No Beer, the Mobile Black Spot Program is lighting up towns by the hundreds. Even in the midst of COVID-19, the Mobile Black Spot Program served to bring life to a region like Walhalla which has stayed connected to its fans by live streaming on Facebook via their new 4G tower.

We’re proud to have the network that is connecting more Australians in more places than ever. We’ll continue to deliver coverage to hard-to-reach areas, so more Aussies can enjoy what the future of connectivity has to offer.

Marine Rescue NSW
Telstra News |

We’re helping Marine Rescue NSW save lives on the water

By Kevin Teoh August 12, 2020

We’re proud to announce a new partnership with Marine Rescue NSW that will see the development of a robust and stable communications platform to help ensure that when a boater is in trouble on the water, a rescue crew can receive a rapid call to action.

The mission of Marine Rescue NSW remains simple but critical – to save lives on the water. This exciting new partnership with Telstra will provide the rescue service with the essential communications it needs to help respond to emergencies on the water with extra confidence.

Our partnership includes the development of an innovative communications platform to support Marine Rescue NSW’s communications needs. That means providing new telephone hardware, connection devices, data and satellite links across the 45 MRNSW units dotted along the NSW coastline and on the Alpine Lakes and Murray River – as well as the newest rescue unit stationed on Lord Howe Island.

Most importantly, the platform provides MRNSW units with NBN as well as Telstra LANES 4G back-up, meaning its emergency personnel will have priority access to the network in peak traffic periods and round-the-clock priority support to repair and help manage outages, even if their fixed connections are down.

Marine Rescue NSW - Tuggerah Lakes

The 2018-19 MRNSW Annual Report noted that its volunteers launched 2,802 missions, rescuing 6,884 Australians, over the year. On the open water, every minute lost can be a matter of life and death. Our leading infrastructure can help give the agency the comfort of saving valuable minutes in getting a rescue crew underway to the scene of an emergency.

Earlier this year, volunteers from Marine Rescue Middle Harbour kindly demonstrated the service’s rescue capability and around-the-clock community service to representatives of both Telstra and Exigo Tech.

With a greater understanding of the role technology can play in supporting these missions, we went to work pinpointing how to develop more reliable, secure and agile communications and IT networks.

Marine Rescue NSW - Trial Bay

Marine Rescue NSW is working closely with Telstra and our additional technology partners, ExigoTech Pty Ltd and MobileCorp, to build these reliable networks and IT solutions. The end solution will help enable crews on the frontline to respond more swiftly to emergency calls for help, with greater ability to access critical online vessel tracking and other systems.

We have a long history and strong relationship with Australia’s emergency frontline workers. This partnership follows a similar initiative with Queensland Ambulance Service in January 2019, which ensured paramedics were supported by a leading mobile managed services solution to help give officers access to essential documentation and information in a 24/7 environment.

These platforms help ensure Australia’s frontline is not only equipped to handle emergency situations but can do so with the confidence they have access to crucial information quickly.

We recognise the role technology plays in empowering Australia’s heroes – for those putting their safety at risk every day to rescue Australians, this is our way of supporting your mission to save lives.

Marine Rescue NSW - Boaters reunite with rescuers

Ipswich Connected Vehicle Pilot Launch
Telstra News |

Continuing to advance technology to make driving safer

By Jamie Smith August 10, 2020

The Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) has moved to the next stage of its Ipswich Connected Vehicle Pilot, Australia’s largest connected vehicle trial, calling for volunteers to have their vehicles retrofitted with Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) technologies.

As part of our commitment to empowering the development of connected and automated vehicle technologies in Australia, we are supplying TMR with 4G LTE data connectivity for more than 500 vehicles taking part in the trial, and the equipment to operate roadside communications network devices.

We see the enormous potential this project has to unlock considerable social and economic benefits for all of us, which is why we continue to explore advanced technologies and provide industry-leading network innovation across our 4G LTE and 5G mobile networks.

The importance of connected vehicles, whether automated or driven by humans, to help avoid collisions, protect pedestrians and cyclists and smooth traffic flow on congested roads cannot be underestimated. Especially when we know that human error is the cause of more than 95 per cent of road crashes.

In addition to this, Infrastructure Australia estimates that reducing road congestion and improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the road networks has a multi-billion dollar economic benefit, thanks to improved productivity due to less time spent in traffic.

As the nine-month Ipswich Connected Vehicle Pilot kicks off, we will see around 500 connected vehicles exchanging messages with the road network infrastructure systems, in order to alert the driver to potentially hazardous situations. Data will be collected during the trial and will be analysed to derive insights and learnings into the safety benefits of C-ITS, to better inform future decisions about regulation, standards and technology to enable the successful deployment of connected vehicles on Australian roads.

The Ipswich Pilot is an important element of V2X technology development in Australia, which is a focus area for Telstra.

We are a leader in the V2X technology space, partnering with Lexus Australia in 2019 to undertake the ‘Advanced Connected Vehicles Victoria’ (ACV2) trial of Cellular V2X technology for a number of road safety use cases.

Prior to that, in July 2017 we conducted the first Australian trial of Vehicle-to-Pedestrian technology in South Australia using the mobile network, which followed our first Vehicle-to-Infrastructure trial in 2016.

Telstra is also a proud foundation member of the executive steering committee for the Australian and New Zealand Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI), which supports the acceleration of safe driverless vehicles onto Aussie roads.

Safety first

Beyond the brilliance that is zipping through morning traffic, automated vehicles also offer the very real potential to fundamentally change transport and society by improving our road safety.

Although the figures are steadily dropping every decade, there were 6750 hospitalised road casualties as a result of crashes in Queensland in 2018-19, and 228 people were killed on Queensland’s roads in 2018-19. To put that into context, that’s four lives lost every week.

With the announcement of innovative trials like the Ipswich Connected Vehicle Pilot, the future of connected and automated cars – and the promise of safer roads, smarter transport, and smoother rides – grows closer by the day.

5G | Network | Tech and Innovation |

Our IoT networks are joining the 5G family: future-proofing for years to come

By Channa Seneviratne June 3, 2020

The Internet of Things is the massive network of connected tech you probably never see. But despite its subtle appearance, IoT is rapidly changing the way we live.

We already have two complementary network layers that cater to large-scale IoT deployments: NB-IoT and LTE-M (also known as Cat-M1).

Our Internet of Things networks have gone from strength-to-strength in a matter of years being deployed nationally right across our 4G 700MHz network and covering three million square kilometres with LTE-M technology. With recent breakthroughs on maximum coverage distance per site for narrowband our NB-IoT coverage now reaches nearly four million square kilometres.

The latest news is that both our LTE-M and NB-IoT are now formally recognised as 5G technologies, meaning we have a big head start in helping to deliver massive IoT through the fifth-generation of mobile network development. The global mobile network standards body’s (3GPP) acceptance of our existing Narrowband (NB-IoT) and Cat M1 IoT technologies as 5G IoT technologies means we can continue to support these technologies even beyond the lifespan of 4G.

NB-IoT is designed for carrying very small packets from simple devices, peaking at transfer rates less than 200kbps. That’s perfect for devices that only need to send a tiny amount of data, like water management, location management, and industrial sensors.

LTE-M, meanwhile, is designed for more complex devices that require more frequent interaction with the network. LTE-M connections are better for devices that you need to be mobile and reporting multiple sets of data such as positioning information like asset tracking.

Since we launched our NB-IoT and LTE-M networks, we’ve helped government and businesses of all sizes around the country learn more and optimise their operations.

Farmers are using the network to track water supply and help regulate deliveries for less waste in their supply chain. Hospitals are using the network to track down life-saving equipment, helping save crucial time and valuable resources. Logistics companies are using it to track freight across the country and give customers better insights into how their deliveries move. We’re even selling a LTE-M-enabled device to help you keep better track of your expensive gear. And we’re only making the networks that power these incredible innovations better as time goes on. For example, we recently announced the expansion of our NB-IoT network to cover almost 4 million square kilometres, by extending site range from 100km up to 120km.

With both LTE-M and NB-IoT now adopted into the 5G family of technologies, they continue to drive a massive expansion of connected things. This expansion into the 5G future allows our customers to embrace LTE-M and NB-IoT with confidence in the technology’s long-term future.

5G is a networking shorthand for the fifth-generation of mobile connectivity standards. Each generation – from 1G through to 5G – has brought with it a brighter future. 5G will deliver speeds, network capacity, and via LTE-M and NB-IoT bring scale to potentially connect billions of things globally that we’d only previously dreamed of. The global standards recognition here means our NB-IoT and LTE-M networks won’t be supplanted by the new 5G technology. Instead, these technologies will go from strength-to-strength together as 5G technologies evolve, with the capability to power massive IoT projects around Australia and the world.

Future 5G capabilities are expected to move in lockstep with IoT networks to provide ultra-reliable low latency communications and by leveraging these capabilities of 5G for IoT, we’ll be able to expand the role of connected devices to enable incredible new advances both in nationwide and hyper-localised settings.

These massive IoT deployments can benefit just about every industry. Connected transport, drones, healthcare and infrastructure could communicate with centralised dashboards to help the nation move more smoothly. Meanwhile, IoT deployed in industrial settings such as factories where collaborative robotics could receive almost instantaneous responses from machines around them to enable faster and smarter manufacturing.

Global IoT connections will simultaneously increase in tandem from the 8.6 billion connections at the end of 2018, to an expected whopping 22.3 billion by 2024, all driven by NB-IoT, LTE-M and the future 5G Industrial IoT standard all delivered by 4G and 5G connectivity.

Connectivity – like 5G – brings with it exciting opportunities for business, health, safety and innovation. We’ll continue to improve our NB-IoT and LTE-M offerings as we roll-out 5G to more places in Australia.

Network | Regional |

Making our 4G coverage go even further

By Paul Milford February 28, 2020

We’re always on a mission to bring best-in-class connectivity to the furthest reaches of our great nation. We believe that connectivity enriches lives, enabling new opportunities to thrive in regional and remote communities. That’s why we’re thrilled to announce a new breakthrough with our technology partner, Ericsson: we’ve deployed world-first technology that can effectively double the range of a 4G mobile base station, increasing it to up to 200km.

Until now, global wireless 4G standards have managed to achieve a range of only 100km from the cell. While that’s still impressive, we’re always looking to push our network capabilities further for our customers. Working with our partner Ericsson, we have deployed a solution that enables standard 4G phones to work at a distance up to 200km from the mobile base station.

We recently completed an extended call using one of our sites at Mount Dowe, east of Narrabri in New South Wales. Further testing and refinement is underway and we expect that it will become commercially available later in 2020 across select locations, further boosting network coverage as demands continue to grow.

This is a big win for our regional and remote customers. We live in a vast nation and providing 4G coverage in more places is critical in ensuring that we are providing the best coverage to our customers both in the city and the country.

This isn’t necessarily a solution for everywhere – the location of the mobile base station and the surrounding topography need to be right for the mobile device signal to get back to the base station – but this will certainly be another deployment option in our 4G coverage toolkit when we are expanding and improving our network.

We continually work with our partners like Ericsson to provide innovative solutions to our customer needs. This achievement builds on previous mobile world firsts, including when Ericsson and Telstra again achieved another world’s first when we extended the 3G cell range to 200km in February 2007.

To ensure you’re getting the best coverage in regional Australia, check out our guide to getting the right gear for your needs.