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How you can go BIG this Lunar New Year

Tech and Innovation

Posted on February 16, 2018

2 min read

As we welcome the Year of the Dog across Australia and the world, how are you celebrating this Lunar New Year?

Is it with a family meal at home or the temple, or with friends at festivals and events across Australia?

But what about your family and friends interstate or overseas – how will you wish them good luck and fortune in the Year of the Dog?

At Telstra, we’re proud of the role we play in connecting family and friends during Lunar New Year, both within Australia and overseas.

Telstra Lunar New Year billboard

This year we wanted to do something more – something special – to help make your Lunar New Year wishes even bigger than ever before. So that’s what we’re doing – literally.

This weekend, from the 17th to 19th of February, we’re opening our 26-metre outdoor digital billboard in Melbourne for your personalised Lunar New Year messages to share with your friends, family and loved ones.

All you need do to is text your first name and then the first name of a family member or friend to 0484 800 800 (for a standard national SMS charge), and a personalised Lunar New Year greeting will appear on the outdoor Telstra Discovery Store billboard on Bourke Street, Melbourne.

Once approved, we’ll also send you a text with an MMS picture message of your personalised billboard that you can share via social media – so it doesn’t matter if your family member or friend is in Sydney or Shanghai, they’ll be able to see your BIG billboard greeting.

Happy New Year for the Year of the Dog. 新春快乐,狗年大吉 !

Telstra’s Lunar New Year billboard will be active from 9:00AM on 17 February to 11:59PM on 19 February. Please note that names need to be in English, and SMS must be sent from an Australian mobile phone. Max 160 characters.

Full terms and conditions of use are available here.

Turning love ‘live’ with the #billboardoflove

Telstra News

Posted on February 13, 2018

2 min read

Every year the Telstra mobile network fills with SMS and MMS declarations of love on Valentine’s Day – and as a technology company that empowers people to connect, this year we’re once again turning love ‘live’.

Since 2011, we’ve taken love from the small screen to the big screen with our #billboardoflove – which each year allows all Australians to declare their love for each other via our massive 26-metre billboard outside the Telstra Store Bourke St, right on Melbourne’s Bourke Street Mall.

Since its inception, we’ve processed over 400,000 messages of love, with the numbers increasing each year. Last year, the billboard peaked a whopping 12,000 messages per hour. That’s a lot of love!

The tech behind the #billboardoflove

Incoming text messages are routed via a Telstra SMS Access Manager account directly into our internal event messaging system.

This system then runs a (rather long) set of automated commands to find and check the two names, manage the automatic and manual moderation, as well as create a JPG preview of what your names will look like on the billboard.

This preview is then returned to the sender as a picture message, via Telstra’s MMS Access Manager.

The 2 names in the picture are also simultaneously added to a live JSON feed, which is polled by the digital signage system in the Telstra Shop to provide the graphics for the actual billboard display.

Get involved

Want to shout your love from (almost) the roof tops? Follow these four steps:

  1. Send an SMS to 0484 MYLOVE (0484 695 683) containing your name, a space, and the name of the one you love from any Australian mobile. Max 160 characters and standard SMS charges apply.
  2. Once approved, you will receive an MMS reply with a preview of your message on Telstra’s ‘Billboard of Love.’
  3. The message will then be featured on our Bourke Street Mall billboard in Melbourne for all to see.
  4. Messages can be sent from 9:00AM on 13 February to 11:59PM on 15 February

Full terms and conditions of use are available here.

Connecting love: our stories from Midsumma


Posted on February 9, 2018

5 min read

One of the great things about working for Telstra is the opportunity to make a real difference in the community. I’m feeling especially proud of the role we’ve just played as the technology partner to Midsumma, Australia’s premiere queer arts and culture festival, held in Melbourne each year.

While I’ve enjoyed Midsumma before, this year was different. I am part of Telstra’s Diversity and Inclusion team, and worked closely with the organisers in the lead up the lead up to the festival. And I also jumped at the opportunity to be a Telstra Citizen Reporter, a voluntary role which saw me attending events throughout the three week festival, sharing the Midsumma experience through my own social media accounts.

There was a lot to share. The three-week festival included some truly awe inspiring events this year. Besides Carnival Day and Pride March, there was a wide array of shows to see – theatre, musical theatre, stand up, cabaret, art exhibitions. Midsumma truly caters to the wider LGBT+ community, and personally I loved their stronger focus on the Indigenous LGBT+ community this year.

I was one of six Telstra Citizen Reporters in 2018. As we return to normal life this week, I’ve asked some of them to share a little of their Midsumma experiences this year.

Elana Monteleone is a sub-editor and copywriter in Telstra’s Knowledge Team, and a TV binge-watching, taekwondo enthusiast.

She keeps coming back to Midsumma as a Telstra Citizen Reporter for the variety of events and the welcoming people who attend them – even in heatwave conditions.

“Despite blistering heat, this year’s Pride March had a more celebratory feel. With the Marriage Bill finally amended, participants and spectators took the opportunity to relish in the win. The determination now shifts to other matters, as there is still so much to work to do beyond the yes vote.”

Stephanie Dickson has been attending Midsumma since she was a child. Now an Executive Assistant, Consumer & Small Business, with three very different degrees to her name, she was delighted to share her ongoing enthusiasm for the festival.

“I felt more connected being a Telstra Citizen Reporter but I also think there was more awareness this year about the other events. Previously, people have been very focused on Carnival and Pride but I think there was more talk of the other events this year which is great.”

Another long term Midsumma participant, Adam Sparnon is a Customer Experience Program Specialist by day and a sci-fi enthusiast and coach away from work. He found this year’s involvement of a wide variety of people from diverse backgrounds particularly inspiring.

“My greatest impression of Midsumma this year was the friendly, inclusive social nature of people attending events across the festival period. I’ve found the events both fun and at times deeply insightful.

“And I felt a sense of pride to be representing an organisation which visibly supports diversity and inclusion by actively participating in Midsumma.”

Pride in Telstra’s support for Midsumma is a common thread in all of our experience over the three weeks of the festival.

“It’s heartening to know that Telstra actively shows support for the LGBT+ community by partnering with Midsumma. Many can say they value and strive for diversity and inclusion, but actions speak louder than words,” said Elana.

I’ll let Sophie Stewart from our Copper Continuity Process Support team have the last word.

“As I’ve just recently moved here, this was my first ever experience with Midsumma and it has easily been my favourite thing about Melbourne so far. I was overwhelmed by the audiences at every event that I went to; it was such a breath of fresh air to be a part of a community who wants to support one another and support the parts of the community that deserve our support and understanding.

“Knowing that the company I work for played a part in sponsoring this festival filled me with great pride. I believe all people should be supportive of diversity and inclusion and I love knowing that my workplace is one of the ones leading the way. I was so grateful to Midsumma for giving me the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the lived experiences of people who identify as LGBT+.”

Midsumma is Australia’s premiere queer arts and culture festival, held in Melbourne each year. We have proudly partnered with Midsumma since 2011. We see the connection of queer culture and what we do as a company that connects people to the things they love as a natural partnership and as important in championing an inclusive culture for our people.  This is at the heart of why we proudly show up each year at Midsumma. 

As technology partner, we are proud to provide phone and internet services to the Midsumma team, enabling them to be brilliantly connected. Our volunteer social media reporters attend Midsumma events and promote through their social media accounts, encouraging others to attend the variety of events on offer.

The year ahead for regional investment

Regional Network

Posted on February 8, 2018

3 min read

With hundreds of new base stations, small cells and site upgrades built over the last 6 months or scheduled around the country during the next 6 months, this financial year (FY18) is shaping up as a big year for expanding mobile coverage for regional Australia.

Whenever we meet our customers who live, holiday or work in regional Australia, whether we’re serving them at a regional store or chatting at a community event, the one thing they all share with us is the importance of mobile coverage. Coverage that means they can connect to each other, to businesses, to emergency services.

This isn’t an emerging theme, and we have been building a network that supports the connectivity needs of our regional customers for decades.

Over the previous three financial years alone, Telstra has invested $2.2 billion in its regional mobile network so more Australians can experience a connected world that supports their way of life.

Our mobile network coverage is around one million square kilometres larger than any other provider in Australia – that’s equivalent to the landmass of the United Kingdom and France combined.

And we’re continuing that large-scale investment across the country. To name just a few locations, we are investing $39 million in northern Queensland, $20 million in Gippsland in Victoria and $75 million in central and southern Western Australia this financial year to increase coverage and enhance our mobile network for regional communities.

This includes our contributions to the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spots Program, where we are delivering more than 500 new 3G/4G mobile base stations in regional Australia. Late last month, we announced we had turned on the 300th site as part of this program.

The 300th blackspot base station site was in Wellington Mill, located in the fruit growing Ferguson River Valley in Western Australia, where the importance of connectivity to farmers to run their businesses more efficiently and sustainably.

From farmers using mobile coverage to connect to agricultural apps that let them remotely monitor the moisture levels of the soil and the health of livestock, to a local leather trading store and museum that can now take credit card payments, business is better when it’s connected.

And we’re now using drones to safely inspect mobile infrastructure shortly after disasters, where previously we had to wait until it was safe to access and climb affected towers to check on our equipment manually.

Since mid-December 2017 we’ve built and connected 20 new base stations under the Mobile Black Spot program, providing new or improved coverage for those living or travelling around the following locations:

Victoria New South Wales Queensland WA NT, SA, Tas

· Ancona

· Archerton

· Bethanga


· Paterson

· Old Wagga Road Sth


· Mena Creek

· Belli Park

· Maleny-Kenilworth Road (Conondale to Kenilworth)

· Goomburra

· The Summit

· Pomona Kin Kin Road


· Bally Bally

· Manmanning

· Aldersyde

· Darradup

· Bullfinch

· Pantapin

· Wellington Mill


· Loyetea, TAS

· Pata, SA

From Victoria’s Yarra Valley, to NSW’s Riverina, to remote aboriginal settlements in South Australia, thousands of people are now benefiting from our state-of-the-art 4GX mobile data and 3G services for the first time.

This year, Safer Internet Day is all about R.E.S.P.E.C.T

Telstra Foundation

Posted on February 6, 2018

1 min read

Happy Safer Internet Day! This is a day where hundreds of organisations, including Telstra, from 130 countries band together to help raise awareness about how we can make the online world a safer place. That’s a lot of people power.

This year’s theme is about showing respect for others online, and we thought we’d get up close and personal – because when it comes down to it, online respect starts with all of us.

Safer Internet Day is a great reminder to reflect on our own online behaviours – when we email, text, post on our social feeds, like, upload and download. We’ve pulled together five questions – with no judgement, but just a little bit of self-reflection. How many can you say yes to?