Tech and Innovation |

Flying cars and 5G: building a connected future for sports and racing

By Chris Smith September 22, 2021

We’ve been racing cars since the late 1800s. The original Grand Prix races in France, raced from town to town with cars driving at a blistering average speed of… about 20km/h. We’ve certainly come a long way since then.

From the big petrol engines of the late 1900s, to the hybrid and electric Formula cars we see today, motor racing has always been at the forefront of technological evolution and pushing the boundaries of what we can do in the name of speed.

Airspeeder is the next evolution of this, promising flying electric cars with a revolutionary viewing experience that we are incredibly proud to be a part of.

The racing series has been created by the world’s only performance electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) manufacturer, Alauda Aeronautics and the historic first flights took place near Adelaide in June.

Airspeeder’s vision for the world’s first electric flying car racing series has the underlying potential to transform the way we move around cities, just as Formula One has driven innovation for the cars we use today.

Whether pilots are on-board or flying remotely, they’ll be able to fly and race closely and safely without physically touching with near real-time data and connectivity powering haptic alerts and proximity sensors.

Telstra Purple developed a near real-time virtual race-control system that feeds essential technical status information to ground crews throughout races and test flights, reflecting the approach employed by leading aviation companies in augmenting and monitoring essential systems for aircraft safety.

Powering the future of motorsport entertainment brought to you by 5G

With our advanced 5G network, we’re also uniquely placed to deliver a fully immersive 5G powered spectator experience through augmented and virtual reality devices, signalling the advent of an entirely new way to experience the next generation of sporting experiences.

As sports like Airspeeder develop, combined with the power of 5G, camera angles from the drivers cockpit won’t just be a simple view of what they see, but there’s a future with virtual reality where you could feel like you’re inside the cockpit with the driver seeing everything they do, almost like you’re racing these flying cars yourself.

Similarly, watching a race live in person, 5G opens up the ability to explore what can be done with augmented reality – whether it’s getting live data on the car and driver by pointing your phone at it while it drives past or overlayed racing lines by pointing at the track.

There are going to be incredible opportunities that we haven’t even thought of yet, but one thing is for sure, that how you watch racing is only going to get better with 5G.

Built by Telstra Purple

Telsta Purple brings together the combined might of a number of Telstra Enterprise’s recent acquisitions over the last few years and our existing technology services together to build incredible technical solutions. It brings together more than 1500 people working on over 8000 projects per year around the world.

Connecting terabytes of data for vehicle to vehicle (V2V) and vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) communications, Telstra Purple will deliver the near real-time virtual race-control system required for the high-speed, close format, multi-vehicle circuit racing in the Airspeeder EXA series.

Racing provides an important testbed to rapidly develop key safety, powertrain and engineering elements that will help drive an advanced air mobility future. Telstra Purple and Airspeeder’s technical partnership will also provide the perfect testing ground for connectivity and data management technologies.

If there was any project that was going to really show its capability, Airspeeder reinforces Telstra Purple’s expertise, capabilities, and partnerships drive leading-edge work to help all companies achieve innovative solutions to their problems, no matter what they are.

Network |

Bringing better coverage to regional Queensland

By Sri Amirthalingam August 23, 2021

Throughout the pandemic, demand for connectivity has surged. We’re on a mission to improve coverage in rural and regional Australia to ensure the thirst for data is quenched. As part of this project, we’re bringing a communications boost to rural and remote communities in North Queensland.

We’re partnering on the lion’s share of the Federal Government’s North Queensland Telecommunications and Energy Improvement projects, making Telstra the largest telco partner on this program.

It means that we’ll be building mobile base stations, satellite small cells, and will provide battery backup solutions to vastly improve our existing 4G mobile coverage in the region. 

Cloncurry, Carpentaria and McKinlay shires are just some of the communities to benefit from these projects that will provide improved connectivity for residents, farmers and tourists, and will be particularly important during natural disaster events like floods.

Strong coverage is something many of us take for granted, but if you’re running a business or get into trouble on the roads, connectivity is vital. It’s the difference between making a sale and not; attending a class and not; or being able to call for help in times of unexpected trouble.

We’re going full steam ahead to make sure that regional and rural Australia have the connectivity they need for the future.

This new grant program joins a host of funding we’re injecting into regional and rural Australia to strengthen the connectivity backbone.

We have earmarked $150 million for regional infrastructure over the next 12 months, and committed a further $200 million to encourage co-investment with governments and businesses to improve connectivity in regional Australia over the next four years. We are also co-funding new mobile towers and improved high-speed broadband services across 72 communities that need it the most as part of the Federal Government’s Regional Connectivity Program.

And under the Federal Government Mobile Black Spot Program, we’ve invested more than three times more funding than the rest of the industry put together, and we’re building more than two thirds of all mobile base stations jointly funded under the program – that’s around 930 new sites to improve coverage for regional areas around the country.

We will also be pouring an additional $75 million from the part sale of our Telstra InfraCo Towers business to bolster this vast program of work.

As the digital economy accelerates around us, we can’t let regional Australia fall behind. The promise of connectivity has to be one that’s fulfilled for all Australians. That way, the kids of Cloncurry Shire and Potts Point can sit in the same virtual classrooms together to learn and share knowledge. Rural businesses can compete on the digital High Street and everyone who needs it can have a virtual appointment with their doctor, whether they’re down the road or on the other side of the country.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 open on a table surrounded by coffee and books
Devices |

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G, Galaxy Z Flip3 5G and everything from Unpacked 2021

By Luke Hopewell August 12, 2021

Stronger, smarter and loaded with new features and innovations. Samsung blessed the timeline with a whole suite of new foldable and flippable devices at its virtual Unpacked press event overnight. Here’s what’s new, and when you can get your hands on them, and how you can score a free TV in the process.

This is a first look at the awesome new gear from Samsung, but we’ve already unboxed them and will be bringing you our first look review in the coming week. Stay tuned by signing up to our newsletter.



Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 opened playing media of a whale

Samsung is no stranger to folding phones, but it’s shooting for the stars with the new Galaxy Z Fold3 5G.

A phone when it’s closed – sporting a 6.2-inch cover screen – becomes tablet-like in seconds as soon as it’s opened. The thin clamshell hides a massive 7.6-inch display, designed for everything in your digital life.

That screen hides some nifty tricks, too. Tricks like secreting a camera underneath the display so that nothing gets in the way of your content! And speaking of cameras, you get a triple camera rig on the back with a 2x telephoto and wide-angle shooter, as well as a 10-megapixel camera on the cover display to boot.

The Z Fold3 is also compatible with two new S Pens now on sale. There’s an S Pen Fold Edition exclusive to this device for great on-the-go note taking, and an S Pen Pro for more serious artists.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 closed next to a new S Pen

And to make sure your phone survives you, Samsung is boasting some big strength and durability upgrades.

On the rear of the device and over the cover screen, you get new Gorilla Glass Victus which Samsung says is 50% stronger than before. On the inside, there’s a new protective film for better scratch resistance, and it’s all reinforced by Samsung’s new Armor Aluminium frame and hinge, which it says is the strongest material they have ever used on a smartphone.

All that reinforcement doesn’t add bulk, either. In fact, it’s lighter than the previous Fold models!

And to top it all off, it’s IPX8-rated water resistant – the first folding phone to be so – protecting it against spills, splashes and the odd dunk.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 range in different colours

In a sea of black rectangles, not every device is created equally. Instead of being a regular candybar smartphone design, the Z Flip3 simply folds vertically shut when you’re done. Think of it like this – the Z Fold3 opens like a book, while the Z Flip3 opens like a high-tech compact mirror.

The Z Flip3 5G really proves that good things come in small packages. You no longer have to make a choice between style and functionality, as you get all the top shelf gear without the big size.

Gear like bigger and better screens, cameras and more power to boot, all in a huge range of colours. If you want the best of Samsung in a small, more portable package, you’re home!

You get a dual rear-camera for wide and ultra-wide shots, as well as an awesome 10-megapixel camera on the inside for top-shelf selfies.

The new front-screen – which is larger and sharper than the last model – also allows you to take a pic while the cover is closed.

The rigid design also means you can flip the phone into its own stand and make it your own tripod, perfect for everything from Zoom catch ups to TikTok challenges. How nifty’s that!

It’s not only good for making content, but it’s great for experiencing it too.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 in someone's hand above a notebook

With smaller bezel – that border between the screen and the phone’s frame – you get more screen for your buck in a true cinematic aspect ratio. That also makes it handy for gaming on the go. Plus, there’s new Dual Speakers with Dolby ATMOS Sound for a super crisp experience.

Samsung has done all the same strengthening work to the Z Flip3 as it has to the Fold to make it tough enough to withstand everyday life. It has the same Armor Aluminium frame and hinge; new Gorilla Glass Victus and new protective film on the internal screen which Samsung says is 80% more durable than previous models.

Plus, it joins the Z Fold3 as the world’s first IPX8-rated water resistant folding smartphones

Release date, pricing and a bonus TV!

Pre-orders for the new devices open from 9am AEST, 12 August 2021 through to 9am AEST, 9 September 2021

All the extra features mean these phones are going to be more expensive, right? Wrong!

Both the Z Flip3 and Z Fold3 models retail for less than the launch prices of their predecessors.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G RRP Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G RRP
256GB 512GB 128GB 256GB
$2499 $2649 $1499 $1599

Ordering your new Z Fold3 5G or Z Flip3 5G from Telstra and adding a Medium or above mobile data plan means you get access to our awesome 5G network[1] that works in more places than ever. We’re also throwing in some incredible exclusive gifts with purchase to anyone who pre-orders on an eligible plan before September 2021.

Customers who shop at Telstra and pre-order the Galaxy Z Fold3 or Z Flip3 before September 09 2021 score a bonus Samsung 43-inch AU8000 Crystal UHD 4K Smart TV (RRP value $949), as well as a bonus Telstra TV when you join Telstra Plus. We’ll also upgrade new Telstra Plus members or non-Gold tier members to Gold tier membership on, unlocking a range of other benefits.[2]

Samsung is also throwing in a choice of bonus packs.

For the Z Fold3, you can choose between a set of Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, a Productivity Pack (S Pen Pro, Universal stand and Trio Universal Keyboard) or a Power Pack (Cover with S Pen and Black Trio Wireless Charger). For the Z Flip3, you can choose between Samsung Galaxy Buds Live or a Power Pack (Black Trio Wireless Charger and Aramid Cover Black).

Things you need to know:

Bonus offers: Redemption and eligibility criteria apply. Redeem bonus gifts by 15 October 2021. For more information please see https://www.samsung.com/au/offer/galaxy-z-series-offer/terms/telstra/.

Telstra Plus: Must be 18+ with an active service. Points are earned on payment for services bill or pre-paid recharge (excluding outright purchases, refunds, credits & late payment fees). Points expire 3 years from earning. Marketing opt-in required (preferences can be changed). Excludes Telstra Enterprise and Corporate accounts. S Pens sold separately.

[1] 5G rolling out in selected areas on selected plans

[2] Current Gold tier members will not receive any additional benefits

Telstra 5G network at 50 per cent
Network |

Why spectrum matters for regional connectivity

By Lyndall Stoyles July 14, 2021

Later this year the Government will auction off 20-year licences for ‘low band’ mobile spectrum and its currently considering how much spectrum each mobile provider can buy.

Spectrum is what carries the calls and data between mobile towers and your phone – the more spectrum we can access, the more data that can be carried to your devices. There are different frequencies of spectrum, with ‘low band’ being essential for carrying mobile data over the vast distances needed across regional and rural areas.

What’s happening

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has recommended the Government limit the amount of low band spectrum we can bid for in the auction, which would leave us with less than what we have today in regional areas.

This is a major policy decision that will dictate the economic and social outcomes for the bush for a generation.

Without access to the right amount of mobile spectrum, customers in regional towns will likely experience congestion and slower mobile speeds, and a delay to the rollout of 5G. This will create a two-tier digital economy that will impact education, health and business outcomes, particularly in rural and remote areas.

We’re not asking for more spectrum than we need, and we’re not asking to limit what Optus or TPG could bid for in any way. And we’re also not asking for spectrum to be set aside for our exclusive use like our competitors have.

What it means for you

We’re absolutely committed to the people, communities and businesses in regional Australia and we’ve invested billions of dollars to extend and enhance our mobile network to the far reaches of our country. Because of this our mobile network now covers one million square kilometres more than any other telco. And in many cases we’re the only game in town when it comes to 5G.

We want to keep extending our network and bring the latest technology to regional Australia, but this will be difficult to do if we don’t have the spectrum available to us.

A report by global economic consulting company, Compass Lexecon, found limiting Telstra’s spectrum will lead to worse outcomes for regional Australia, including service degradation and potentially higher prices to fund the extra infrastructure we need to make up for the lack of sufficient spectrum.

This doesn’t have to be the case. We’re not asking for other mobile providers to be restricted in any way – we’re just seeking to maintain a proportion of low band spectrum that’s similar to what we have today.

We’re pleased the Government is currently considering alternative spectrum limits and will soon make their decision on this.

We don’t want to alarm you, but we think it’s only fair that you’re aware of any decision that may impact your connectivity. We want to support regional Australia but we need the Government’s support to do this.

5G | Network | Regional | Telstra News |

Our 5G network now reaches 75% of Australians

By Nikos Katinakis June 28, 2021

Over the last year a big focus for us has been to bring Telstra 5G to as many people as possible, and today we’ve reached a huge milestone – with 75% of all Australians now having the ability to access to our 5G network where they live.

After starting our initial 5G rollout across major cities, a big effort has been made to extend this out to our suburbs, regional centres and rural areas. You can now find Telstra 5G presence in more than 2,700 suburbs and over 200 cities and towns across Australia.

In the last six months alone, we have switched on 5G services in more than 100 regional cities and towns including Port Douglass in Queensland, Yass in New South Wales and Devonport in Tasmania.

As our 5G rollout continues across Australia, we’re seeing thousands of new devices joining our network every week, and now have more than 1.5 million 5G devices live on our network.

The hard work on our 5G rollout is not done yet – we want to bring 5G to as many people as possible. Reaching more Australians will be harder from here though, with populations spread out over larger distances, with each incremental percentage of the population requiring proportionally more 5G sites to cover – so some areas might take a bit longer than others before the 5G symbol pops up the top of your phone.

And just because we have been focusing so much on 5G, doesn’t mean we have forgotten about our 4G service. We just passed a big new milestone with our 4G footprint now covering more than 2 million square km and 99.4% of the Australian population – so you can browse, stream or chat in more places than ever before.

Not just a bigger network, a better network

When it comes to 5G, while we’ve been rolling it out across Australia, we’ve also been innovating and deploying new technologies to offer a better and even more reliable service to our customers.

One new addition is a technology called carrier aggregation. We’ve used this on 4G for a while and helped boost connectivity dramatically for customers as we worked on it more and more. It essentially involves enabling devices to access our network using multiple radio frequencies.

Think of it like you’re trying to heat a room. You start with a single heater, but it’s too cold still, so you add another heater to get the room up to temperature. Combining multiple frequencies to work together, just like the heaters warming the room faster, gives you greater network performance than connecting to the single frequency.

For the first time, we’re adding this out to 5G too. By combining Telstra 5G on low band 850Mhz spectrum and mid-band 3600Mhz 5G, you should see a boost in 5G performance when you’re indoors or on the edge of 5G coverage.

mmWave – the next big thing

Earlier this year we announced that we’re investing $277 million in 1000MHz of 26Ghz spectrum for mmWave 5G – a short-range, high-frequency and very high capacity spectrum band that really makes the most of what 5G can do. Adding mmWave to 5G will supercharge the network even further, adding greater capacity for more devices especially in population dense areas like big city CBDs or at major sporting events.

While the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), who manages spectrum licensing in Australia only recently auctioned off mmWave spectrum, we’ve been preparing to launch it for a while now. In fact, we already have 50 mmWave sites live across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Goulburn and the Gold Coast.

We’re excited about mmWave being live, and if you own a Telstra 5G WiFi Pro you can experience the boost in certain pockets of those areas. At the moment, it’s the only device on the market that supports mmWave, but we’ll be launching a few more devices by the end of the year to take advantage of the next phase in 5G.