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5 things you should know about 5G and EME


Posted on June 7, 2019

4 min read

Telstra is at the forefront of 5G in Australia, with our nationwide roll-out of 5G already in all major Australian cities and expanding to more cities, regional centres and high traffic areas in 2019 and beyond. Part of our work, with our partners across government and the telecommunications industry, is to educate Australians on 5G and EME and answer your questions.

What is 5G?

5G is the fifth generation of mobile network technology, following 2G, 3G and 4G. It has the potential to offer super-fast connections and response times and more capacity than previous generations, and is designed to meet the needs of the large growth in demand for data and connectivity from our customers and businesses.

5G works in conjunction with existing mobile technologies like 4G.

Is 5G safe?

We are confident 5G adds no risk compared to existing technologies.

We rely on the expert advice of both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) for overall assessments of health and safety impacts. The WHO and ARPANSA advise that there is no substantiated scientific evidence that radiofrequency technologies that operate within national and international safety standards cause health effects.

The advice from WHO is that ‘there is no evidence that exposure to low level EME is harmful to human health”.

The frequencies and power levels we are using today for 5G are similar to 3G and 4G. Over 50 years of scientific research has already been conducted into the possible health effects of the radio signals used for mobile phones, base stations and other wireless services, including the frequency bands now being redeployed for 5G. The existing safety standards for EME set by the Australian Health Department cover 5G, include children and are conservative.

All of our research has found 5G EME levels to be similar to 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi. The EME levels measured were found to be well below the safety limits, and in many cases over a thousand times lower.

What testing has Telstra done in relation to 5G?

We have done extensive EME testing on our 5G network, including testing on both our trial 5G network and the 5G network that we have already begun to roll out around Australia. The EME levels measured were found to be well below the safety limits, and in many cases over a thousand times lower.

We continually monitor our network (including EME levels), and the ACMA conducts audits to check compliance with the EME safety standards.

What does the government say about 5G and EME?

ARPANSA, the agency of the Commonwealth Government tasked with protecting people and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation, says that “there is no established health effects from the radio waves that the 5G network uses”.

The agency also notes that some anti-5G campaigns are generating “unfounded fear and concern” and spreading misinformation within the community.

ARPANSA also addresses anecdotes of health problems that some individuals believe may be attributed to exposure to radio waves. “ARPANSA and the World Health Organization (WHO) are not aware of any well-conducted scientific investigations where health symptoms were confirmed as a result of radio wave exposure in the everyday environment.” It goes on to say that “there is a lack of evidence that exposure to radio waves is the cause” of these health problems.

What is mmWave and is it safe?

mmWave, or millimetre wave, is a portion of the radiofrequency spectrum between 30GHz and 300GHz.

mmWave is not new – it is already used in Australia for wireless services like fixed point-to-point communications infrastructure and satellite internet, including through the NBN’s Sky Muster satellite service. The existing EME safety standards and extensive research to date includes mmWave.

Telstra’s 5G technology does not currently use mmWave frequencies, however we plan to use mmWave in the future when spectrum becomes available.

Telstra’s mmWave 5G trials showed EME levels were very low and similar to existing technologies.

Tags: 5g, customers, EME,

Providing our customers with more choice as we build 5G


Posted on May 22, 2019

4 min read

From today 5G becomes a reality for Australia. With the launch of our first 5G device, the HTC 5G Hub, you can now experience the super-fast response times, high-speed data and additional capacity the new technology provides.

When we launched 4G we couldn’t have predicted how much video we would end up watching on our mobiles, and as we launch 5G we can only begin to imagine the possibilities it will bring.

5G will be a game changer for a range of applications where speed and quick response times (latency) are important, including 4K video, gaming and other new technologies that require advanced connectivity such as autonomous driving.

Our investment in bringing 5G to life for Australia is significant. It’s the culmination of our investment of around $8 billion in our mobile network over the last five years (to 30 June 2019) to enhance the capacity, capability and reach it provides.

As we continue to grow our 5G coverage, and more devices become available over time, we want to give people the opportunity to experience what 5G has to offer and be clear on where it is and will be available.

We have already started building out our 5G coverage in some areas and, as we did with 3G and 4G, we will progressively roll out the new technology over time.

We have started rolling out 5G in 10 cities around Australia. Over the next 12 months or so we expect our 5G coverage to increase in area almost five-fold and reach into at least 35 Australian cities.

Importantly, all of Telstra’s 5G devices will work in our 5G and 4GX coverage areas, to provide customers our best possible mobile speeds available.

As technology evolves, the way we use mobile data is changing. Not long ago we were just using it for text messaging and accessing information online. Now we’ve added listening to music, watching sport and entertainment and posting to social. The launch of 5G will bring advancements in mobile gaming, virtual reality experiences, HD video conferencing and other apps not yet thought of.

While the high speed and low latency 5G will provide will be enormously beneficial for some, we know not everyone is necessarily going to need it or value it.

At the end of June we will be launching our new mobile plans, as part of our effort to greatly reduce the number of plans we have in market. Our customers will decide on the core connectivity plan they want and then have the flexibility to choose what they want to add to their service. This could include a new handset, wireless earphones or video streaming service.

We also think customers choosing different connectivity experiences will become a big part of how mobility services are sold in thefuture. Customers will choose the data inclusions they want as a base plan, and then have the option to tailor a connectivity “add on” to suit different uses.

Our overriding principle is for our customers to have the freedom and flexibility to choose the experiences they value and not pay for experiences they don’t.

So as we build out 5G we’re taking a different approach.

To start with, when we launch our new plans in late June, we will make 5G available for free for a minimum of 12 months, so everyone with a compatible device has the opportunity to try 5G when they are in a 5G coverage area.

Once this free trial period ends, customers on our top two plans will have 5G connectivity included in their plan at no extra charge, and customers on our other plans will have the option of adding 5G connectivity for $15 a month.

Customer who buy a 5G enabled device before we launch our new plans, or are a part of the Samsung S10+ upgrade program, will receive 5G access for no additional charge for the life of their contract.

Over time, we believe it won’t just be 5G access customers can choose. We expect there will be a range of differentiated connectivity experiences customers could opt in to – whether this is low latency gaming or AR/VR experiences, or high bandwidth use cases leveraging millimetre wave 5G in the future.

Telstra Plus is here, with more reasons to join than ever


Posted on May 14, 2019

3 min read

Yesterday we introduced you to Telstra Plus, our new rewards program for Telstra customers, with a bang – and a million-point giveaway. Now that Telstra Plus is well and truly out in the open, we can share more about what you get for joining, including some fantastic entertainment benefits.

We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response from you all since we announced Telstra Plus last month, with over 370,000 sign-ups – we know that we’re onto something here. We’ve been working hard on the best way to reward you for your loyalty, and we think this is it.

Our customers have always been able to benefit from the best network and access to the greatest new technology. With Telstra Plus, being a customer is now even more rewarding – from today, you’ll be able to start accumulating points just for paying your monthly bill, and you can exchange those points for discounts on the latest tech devices and accessories when our redemption store opens in July. 

We know that Aussies love their sport and entertainment, so we’re especially proud of our latest addition to Telstra Plus. We’re adding yet another reason to join with some more benefits for our Silver and Gold members in the form of Telstra TV Box Office credits, to the value of 12 or 18 new release SD movies (to activate before 31 July 2019).  

For the sports buffs out there, we’ll give Silver and Gold members a one or three month subscriptions to Kayo Basic – maybe when your favourite season starts! 

These new entertainment benefits sit alongside the VIP service that we’re offering our Silver and Gold members of Telstra Plus. Silver members will receive a one-off tech support call per year through our Telstra Platinum service, and Gold members will have 24×7 tech support over the phone through Telstra Platinum whenever they need it, at a value of $120 per year. 

All our Telstra Plus members will continue to have access to discount sport and movie tickets, pre-sale tickets, and money-can’t-buy experiences, as we roll our long-running Telstra Thanks program into Telstra Plus.  

From 28 May, we’ll start to roll out some Telstra Plus tier benefits to members. We’ve been delighted to see you all embrace Telstra Plus over the last few weeks, and we’re extremely excited to grow and expand our new rewards program over the coming months.

Becoming a more agile organisation to deliver on our T22 Strategy


Posted on May 10, 2019

5 min read

At Telstra, we have embarked on a multi-year transformation. 

I have reservations at times about using the word ‘transformation’ as it gets used all too often. However, in this case, I can’t think of a better word. 

Telstra is an iconic business which has been (and will continue to be) an important part of the fabric of Australia. It has gone through many changes and evolutions so now could be seen as just another phase in the inevitable journey over the past 43 years but I think it is more than that. 

There are profound times through all organisational lifecycles where gradual evolution makes sense. However, for us, we have reached a point where all forces mean truly re-thinking how we do business – what we sell, how we create our products and services, how we sell, and how we create an organisation and culture that has the agility to respond to customer needs that are changing more rapidly than ever before. 

Our focus for change comes from a deep commitment to reinvent telecommunications products and services – deliver a level of simplicity, transparency and trust that customers want but underpinned by the best network and world class capabilities. For us this change starts from within. 

In doing so we also need to be transparent that this scale and pace of change is hard, creates uncertainty and impacts people. 

Changing how we work

A critical part of delivering on our T22 commitments at Telstra is changing how we work to allow our people to collaborate more quickly and easily to deliver better, faster outcomes for our customers.

We know it’s a powerful lever in our transformation but that the workplace and workforce transformation is not always prioritised to the same level as other aspects of transformations.

Telstra’s transformation is end-to-end so we are investing in and simplifying the things that impact our employees’ working experience alongside transforming our customers’ experience, our focus on innovative products and technology, and our cost base. We are certainly not there yet, but we are making significant changes to get us there.

Agile will be a powerful lever to drive how we work

And that’s why from July, we’ll start the transition to our Agile at scale model across our organisation. 

It will build on the new structure and operating model we introduced last year, and which is already starting to breakdown silos and hierarchy, and removing other barriers which get in the way of our people doing their best work.

Moving to expand our agile ways of working will enable people from various parts of our company to form cross functional delivery teams that will focus on customer outcomes through fewer hand-offs, better collaboration and the right capabilities to deliver.

But it’s actually much bigger than that. Agile at scale across Telstra will fundamentally change how our business runs, shift our mindset to support our new world and mobilise our organisation around common goals and priorities. 

Not every team at Telstra will move to full-scale Agile ways of working, and some will use tools from across Agile, Human Centred Design, Lean and DevOps where it makes sense.

Engaging our people in our new ways of working

As we move to Agile we’re also focusing on investing in and supporting all our people. Last week we hosted interactive Agile Futurespective events in Sydney and Melbourne – these events were an opportunity to share our approach and design with our people. We wanted to create space to build a shared understanding of what we’re doing, gather feedback on our approach and help to address any questions in real time.  

We’ve designed a common set of ways of working practices for Telstra, and to help everyone at Telstra to understand and learn skills to work in this way, a comprehensive training program is underway.

There is no doubt that this is an ambitious goal and we are only part way through our journey, but we have seen the ability (especially for a large company with a lot of history) to move at pace as we accelerate our change to deliver on our goals. 

We recognise that the change is creating uncertainty, but we equally know we are entering an exciting phase which will see us continue to expand Agile, and adapt our ways of working, to unlock the benefits for our business, people and our customers as we continue our transformation.

Alex’s blog was first published on LinkedIn on 8 May 2019.

Last days to join Telstra Plus early and score bonus points


Posted on May 9, 2019

2 min read

There’s less than a week until we officially launch our new rewards program, Telstra Plus – and we really, really don’t want you to miss out! Sign up early and you’ll be in line for some bonus points as well as a more rewarding experience for being a Telstra customer.

Telstra Plus is our new rewards program, giving customers the opportunity to earns points to put towards discounts on the latest devices and accessories just for being a Telstra customer. We want you to be ready to earn points from day one, and there’s a nice bonus for signing up early.

Telstra Plus adds the ability to earn points on your monthly Telstra spend, and to put those points towards a new smartphone, or accessories like headphones, wearables or smart home speakers. Plus, Telstra Plus has three tiers – Member, Silver, and Gold.

Everyone with a Telstra Plus membership will be able to access our Member tier benefits such as discounted tickets and pre-sale access to concerts; entertainment benefits that build on the success of our long-running Telstra Thanks program. Silver members will receive a one-off Telstra Platinum tech support call online or over the phone per year and an entertainment bonus – more on that last part soon! If you qualify for the Gold tier, you’ll also get 24×7 tech support online and on the phone through Telstra Platinum.

Signing up to Telstra Plus only takes a couple of minutes, and there are no joining fees – all you have to do is visit the website or the 24/7 app, enter your Telstra personal account details, and follow the steps.  From 14 May, you’ll be earning points without any more effort needed.

We can’t wait to share more about our plans for Telstra Plus, and to welcome you all to the new program with a bang. Stay tuned as we get closer to 14 May to see what we have in store.

Tags: customers,