Entertainment |

Help make your next match a win, no matter who’s online at home

By Nathan Gumley October 6, 2020

In the heat of the moment, there’s nothing more irritating than a spike of unexpected lag that robs you of a well-deserved chicken dinner. And then you hear the TV streaming from the other room… GG. There goes any chance of keeping up with your squad for the rest of the night.

Online gaming lives and dies on the bandwidth of two things: your home network and your Internet connection. The gamers here at Telstra – and there are thousands of us! – know this, and some of us have been working behind the scenes within the business on a special project.

If you’re a Telstra fixed broadband customer, you probably already know about the Smart Modem included for new customers on sign up; it’s our award-winning, Australian designed broadband modem with built-in 4G backup for if your fixed line goes down. We love it – it makes our lives easier as well as yours, helping keep you online if there’s a network outage and making it simpler to get Wi-Fi throughout your home.

It turns out our Smart Modem is actually gutsy enough to run DumaOS, the ultra-configurable operating system from Netduma. If you’re a hardcore gamer, you might already have heard of DumaOS – it already runs a few gaming routers out there with expensive price tags on them. So, when we were exploring the best way to give our Telstra gamers a boost, it was a pretty easy decision… but we want you to put it to the test to see how it stacks up.

Telstra Game Optimiser is designed to give gamers a competitive edge. We’ve already taken steps to optimise our network for gaming, but the big opportunity is within your own home network. Game Optimiser on an eligible Smart Modem helps combat network congestion by prioritising gaming traffic and gaming devices over other internet-connected devices and traffic in your home, and helps reduce lag by letting you choose what bandwidth your device needs.

It also improves your multiplayer competitiveness by helping you hand-pick the closest servers to improve latency for the game you’re playing. It works for more than just games, too – you can use Game Optimiser’s network monitor to spot bandwidth-hogging programs and devices, helping you to switch off a pesky system update or unexpected download when you’re about to settle down to a movie.

We know that milliseconds matter in gaming, even more than they do with a video call or a big download. In that moment, you want everything to run smoothly. There are millions of gamers in Australia and a lot of them choose to play with Telstra on our leading network when it comes to latency*. Now we have a way to give you more control and help improve the latency experience of your gaming.

As we get closer to the commercial launch of Game Optimiser, we want our most avid eligible gaming customers to see how it can help. We’re running an early access program to an open beta with most of the final functionality of Game Optimiser, and we’d love your expert feedback.

The setup is as seamless as it can be – subscribe and we’ll take care of updating your Smart Modem’s software automatically. From there, test your experience across whatever online games and devices you like best, and with whatever network congestion you normally put up with at home, and let us know what you think. We’ll use that feedback to improve Game Optimiser before and after its official launch.

We’re running the open beta for customers with an eligible Telstra Smart Modem Gen 2 and nbn fixed broadband plan that want to give it a try, as well as all our own in-house gaming fanatics, from now until November 9 – when we officially launch Game Optimiser. Fixed wireless and nbn Basic speed plans unfortunately won’t work with Game Optimiser. Open beta customers will automatically roll onto a one-month free trial on 9 November, followed by a paid subscription one month later for $10 a month plus your existing nbn charges if you don’t cancel before the end of the trial.

We really think that Game Optimiser is going to make a difference where it counts. Millions of game consoles, gaming PCs and home network routers are plugged in around the country with default settings that can be improved by Game Optimiser. More importantly, we’ve already seen the improvement that Game Optimiser makes to the pings of our favourite game servers and the advantage that prioritising gaming traffic in your home network brings to your gaming experience.

If all this sounds pretty tempting for that next iso-session of Fortnite or Valorant or League of Legends, you can learn more about Game Optimiser and sign up here.

Things you need to know

* Telstra ranked #1 for nbn average round trip latency performance. ACCC Measuring Broadband Australia – Report 9 – May 2020.

Telstra Game Optimiser Open Beta will conclude on 9 November. From 10 November all eligible Telstra nbn customers will be able to add on Telstra Game Optimiser with a one-month free trial, then the subscription is $10 per month, plus your existing nbn plan charges. Open Beta customers will automatically roll into the one-month free trial followed by paid subscription if they do not cancel their subscription prior. Requires Gen Smart 2 Smart Modem. Incompatible with Fixed Wireless and with nbn Basic speed plans. Customers looking to participate in the beta trial will need a modem serial number beginning with CP and to check their MyTelstra app to confirm eligibility.

Entertainment |

X Marks The Spot to win one of 10 new Xbox Series X consoles

By Campbell Simpson September 15, 2020

To celebrate the impending arrival of the brand new Xbox family of consoles, we’re giving Aussie gamers and internet sleuths the chance to be among the first to get their hands on the Xbox Series X when it lands later this year with a virtual treasure hunt.

This is a big day – the moment millions of gamers around the world have been waiting for. We know the wait for the next generation of Xbox consoles has been long and hard. We’re looking forward to trying the Xbox Series X for ourselves, but we wanted to reward Aussie fans by giving you a jump on pre-orders – as long as you’ve got the puzzle-solving chops.



X Marks The Spot is eXactly what it sounds like. We’ve hidden 10 Xbox Series X consoles in virtual locations around our corner of the ‘net for eagle-eyed fans to find, with a distinctive mark giving you a pretty good idea of what you’ve found. Each location has been picked for its significance to Telstra or Xbox, and the prize is worth the effort: the first eligible hunter who successfully finds one of the virtual locations using the clue to that virtual location will get their hands on the equivalent of an Xbox All Access package from Telstra, including an Xbox Series X console as well as a 24-month membership to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

As gamers, you know how to approach complex and unconventional challenges and solve them as efficiently and effectively as possible. We all play in different ways though – a speed-runner might try to tackle the problem as fast as possible, but if you’ve played Portal then you understand the value of having a good hard think before you dive in. If gaming to you means a session of Candy Crush on your phone on the train to work, then you’ve got the right stuff too – put those logic skills to work.
We want you to use those tried and tested talents to track down the hidden consoles. This treasure hunt will end when all the consoles have been found, but we think we’ve put together some pretty hard clues, so it might even stretch until the end of the promotion period on 22 September at 12 midday (AEST). When you’re submitting your entry, we want to know two key things – which clue you’re responding to, and where (you think) you’ve found the answer. Copy and paste the website address (URL) of the page when you’ve found it, and let us know using the entry form below. Here’s a tip – if the URL doesn’t fit in the box, it’s not right.

Each location will be revealed as it’s unearthed, so you won’t be stuck looking where an Xbox console has already been found. If we think you need them, we might also drop additional clues in the coming days, so check back here regularly to find the latest updates. If that sounds up your alley, head down the page for the full list of locations and clues to get you started. Terms and conditions apply.

Update: Thanks for playing, everyone! We were blown away by the flood of entries (TBH, we thought our clues were pretty cryptic and that you’d be stumped for a week – more fool us).

All the unexpected ‘x’ locations have now been found, and the winners will be among the first to get the Xbox Series X from Telstra when it lands later this year. You may not be able to see all clues any more, as some of the words they were hidden in may have gone back to normal. You can see all the winners below.

Locations and Clues

1. Messy slurp without first rinsing gets us rewards
FOUND HERE FIRST BY ALEXANDER, NORTH GOSFORD

2. The first awestruck, fierce legends before ten amateurs led to a different competition
FOUND HERE FIRST BY MICHAELA, SOUTH YARRA

3. We’ve come a long way since Emily Valentine tied up her boots
FOUND HERE FIRST BY BEN, FLETCHER

4. Running out of time to master Call Me Maybe on Just Dance (can’t explain why yet tho)
FOUND HERE FIRST BY TODD, GEELONG

5. What is that place which cradles the iron, born of the forge. After tired and tried days on the battlefield? My axe rests here
FOUND HERE FIRST BY TIM, WONTHAGGI

6. The dandy dropped 500 to shout us a writing tool, but he’s still a great boss among the birds
– FOUND HERE FIRST BY EMMA, AUSTRALIND

7. Learning to fly is hard, but we’ve been looking into it, and you’ll never hear us say you shouldn’t get involved
FOUND HERE FIRST BY MATT, BALLARAT

8. Broccoli mixed with football to focus on the task at hand
FOUND HERE FIRST BY ANDREW, LYNDHURST

9. Sounds like 100 takers in this seafaring game
FOUND HERE FIRST BY DAMIEN, CARLISLE

10. Navigating initially north by north, a simple changing service
FOUND HERE FIRST BY NATHAN, ST LEONARDS

Thanks, the competition is now closed!

Terms and conditions

The X Marks the Spot promotion opens on the 15th September 2020 at 10 am AEST and ends on 22nd September 2020 at 12 midday AEST. Entry is open to Australian residents other than the officers, employees or contractors of us or other companies associated with the promotion and their immediate families. Entrants under the age of 18 must have parent or guardian’s consent to enter. If an entrant under the age of 18 does not have their parent or guardian’s consent to enter, their entry may be invalid and that entrant may be disqualified. Winners will be notified by telephone and/or email during the promotion period once their entry has been determined to be a winning entry. Winners’ names may be published on our website and in social media channels at Telstra’s discretion. Full terms and conditions are available here. This is a game of skill and chance plays no part in the outcome.

Entertainment |

It’s finally been announced: meet the Xbox Series S and the whole Xbox family

By Campbell Simpson September 11, 2020

Microsoft dropped a bunch of news this week that will make gamers very happy. There’s a new Xbox Series S console alongside the Xbox Series X, as well as more games coming to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate at no extra cost thanks to a new Microsoft partnership with EA Play.

After a few hints of the new Xbox Series S appeared around the ‘net, it’s finally official. The new Xbox Series S is an all-digital console, built to download all your games rather than playing off a disc. The Series S is also the smallest Xbox ever, despite its next-generation speed and performance. It’s more affordable than the super-powered Xbox Series X, too.

The Xbox Series S may be cheaper than Xbox Series X, but it’s designed around the same technology and Xbox Velocity Architecture that means it’s a truly next-generation console. It has the same benefits like faster load times and Quick Resume, letting you suspend a game wherever you are, even without a save point, and come back to it later. You can even jump between multiple games in a flash.

The other exciting news is that Microsoft announced that Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members (if you have Xbox All Access with Telstra, that includes you) will reportedly be able to get an EA Play membership for no additional cost alongside Xbox Game Pass. EA Play includes more than 60 of EA’s biggest games, trials of new EA games for up to 10 hours, and even access to play some on your smartphone.

When the new Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S launch, they will be available through Xbox All Access, exclusive to Telstra. Our package gives you a brand new Xbox console of your choice and access to over 100 games and online multiplayer through Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

The Xbox Series S will cost $33 per month in our Xbox All Access bundle (min Cost $792 when you stay connected for 24 months plus your plan charges), and the flagship Xbox Series X will cost $46 a month (min Costs $1104 when you stay connected for 24 months) plus your plan charges. You’ll have to be a post-paid mobile or fixed broadband customer with us to get this deal.

We’ll be opening pre-orders for both the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S bundled with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, all at one monthly cost, on our Xbox All Access page. We’ve got a feeling that orders will be coming in quick, so keep an eye out – we’ll also let you know on our Facebook and Twitter when orders open up. The consoles themselves are expected to be out in Australia on November 10.

But wait: there’s more. Stay tuned early next week for an announcement about your chance to jump the pre-order queue and get yourself an Xbox Series X and 24 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate – just by using the problem-solving and puzzle-hunting skills you’ve picked up as a gamer. Check back here at Telstra Exchange for all the info.

We’re excited to share more with you as we get closer to the launch of the latest and greatest Xbox console line-up. To keep up with all our news, register your interest on our Xbox All Access page.

Things you need to know about Xbox All Access

Available to Telstra consumer postpaid customers only. Prices vary by console. Stock is limited. Limit of one pre-order per customer account. If you cancel, your monthly subscription within the first 24 months you will need to pay out the remainder of your Xbox console as a one-off payment on your next bill. In order to receive your paid months of Games Pass, you must have activated your Games Pass before you cancel. You cannot activate Games Pass after you cancel. Any months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, Live Gold, or Game Pass that you have paid for but not yet used will remain on your account after you cancel until they expire up to a maximum of 36 months, inclusive of the 24 months that is part of All Access. Roll onto monthly subscription on your Telstra bill at the standard market rate after 24 months. Your existing Xbox Live Gold and Game Pass membership(s) will convert to Ultimate at a conversion ratio, up to a max of 12 months (36 months inclusive of your All Access package). Learn more xbox.com/gamepass. To activate the Game Pass subscription that is part of Xbox All Access you will need to sign into your chosen Microsoft account on your new console. Learn more at xbox.com/digitaldirect. Game catalogue varies over time. Requires internet and suitable display. Not available in conjunction with other offers.

Entertainment |

Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1+2: two classic games given new life

By Joshua Appadoo September 7, 2020

Tony Hawk is back and with a bang! Fans have been waiting for years for a remaster of Pro Skater 1 & 2; now it’s here in one game – and I am so keen!

I’ve spent hours upon hours grinding, flipping and 180-ing my way through all of Tony Hawk Pro Skater’s classic maps. (But, alas, I still can’t get past School, because I’m just awful.) Nonetheless, that doesn’t make this game any less enjoyable – the music, the tricks, the areas all make a comeback and will have you looking through nostalgia goggles the whole time. They’ve somehow managed to make perfection even better than I remember.

THPS 1 + 2’s excellent soundtracks make their return to jog your memory in the new game, along with 32 new tracks that fit the games’ atmosphere so so well. Billy Talent, Machine Gun Kelly and Skepta are just some of the artists you’ll find to serenade you as you compete for the high score or biggest combos!

The areas available to you both feel like home; they’re nostalgic yet new and exciting. You go in knowing and remembering where to do that kickflip or that manual. But in the remastered versions there’s just so much more added detail and new textures, added so tastefully as not to detract from the gameplay you know and love.

Tony Hawk’s™ Pro Skater™ 1 and 2 - Xbox

Tony Hawk’s customisation is also just as insane! If you can think of it you can make it – change all your tattoos, hairstyle, hair colour, clothes, wheels, trucks and everything else on your board. Create A Park also makes a return, even more chock full of features than before. Every ramp, table, rail and pipe under the sun is there for you to command and mold your creation with.

If the name Tony Hawk revives memories of after school skate sessions, playing video games on weekends or staying up late on school nights, these are the games for you. It is a very faithful remaster keeping with tradition, inspiring and celebrating all skaters around the world. 

Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2 is available now to play on Xbox One, PS4 and PC. I played it on the Xbox One X I have as part of my Xbox All Access package from Telstra.

(Note, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2 is not part of the games library available through Xbox All Access and is a separate purchase.)

Tony Hawk’s™ Pro Skater™ 1 and 2 - Xbox

Devices | Tech and Innovation |

Hands-on with the Samsung Note20 Ultra 5G: the work-hard/play-hard superphone

By Luke Hopewell August 21, 2020

The Samsung Note20 range has landed, and this year it’s all about 5G, with every model powered by our incredible network. We’ve got our hands on the Note20 Ultra 5G, and after putting it through its paces, we’re seriously impressed. Here’s what we love.

The S Pen is mightier than the sword…

You know what it is, but you’ve never experienced it like this before. The latest S Pen on the Note20 Ultra 5G features everything you loved about previous models, and then some.

Simply click it out from its resting place inside the device and you’re greeted with a range of productivity and creativity apps designed to take you to the next level.

Popping out the S Pen with the screen off jumps you right into the Screen-Off Memo app for quick notations, or for those more detailed annotations, Screen Write allows you to quickly jot notes on a screenshot or photo.

Two really cool features of the new S Pen we love are both the ability to write notes and convert them into text that syncs to your PC, and the ability to Audio Bookmark, which lines up your notes with your audio recordings for easy meeting or class reference notes.

The S-Pen also works as a Bluetooth remote, complete with gestures for helping you navigate your device and even trigger the camera shutter from up to 10 metres away. Nifty.

Pair all that with the new fast refresh rate screen, the Note20 Ultra’s writing and drawing experience is smoother than ever, making it feel less like a gadget and more like a truly elegant pen.

…but if you’re into swords, the gaming performance is incredible…

It takes a lot of grunt to run a mobile gaming rig, and the Note20 Ultra won’t break a sweat when running your games at top performance. It’s designed for great games anywhere they happen.

The Note20 Ultra 5G gives you the fastest processor ever in a Galaxy device and up to 12GB of RAM for PC power in your pocket. All that good gear is powered by a 4500mAh battery to keep you gaming when the competition scrambles for the power outlets.

Plus, the edge-to-edge Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity-0 Display pushes out bright, crisp and vivid graphics for all your viewing needs.

And with Wi-Fi 6, a Wi-Fi Optimiser and our incredible 5G capabilities, you’ll always have the speed you need to play at your best.

…and the camera combo is mind-blowing…

Samsung has spent 2020 bringing the wow with its cameras, and the Note20 Ultra 5G takes great gear and makes it even better.

With a total of three cameras on the Note20 Ultra, you have a bagful of professional-grade lenses ready to go. There’s a 12-megapixel Ultra Wide Camera, 12-megapixel Telephoto Camera (with 50x zoom for truly incredible results), and a whopping 108-megapixel Wide-angle camera to capture scenes in eye-popping detail.

All that is backed up by a new laser autofocus sensor system for the rear cameras, producing sharp shots when it counts.

These cameras work together to produce stunning images, but the real stunner comes in the form of Pro-Grade Video. 8K video to be precise, giving you a camera that’s set to produce stunning images for now and into the next generation of screens. It also goes beyond pro-grade resolution, also packing pro-grade tools and effects in the revamped camera app so you can make something truly cinematic with nothing but your smartphone.

And don’t forget about the 10-megapixel Selfie Camera on the front of the device to keep you looking your best.

…all powered by Australia’s best 5G!

Every Samsung Note20 device in this year’s range is powered by our incredible 5G capabilities. We’ve got Australia’s best 5G and you’ll feel the power in your hands with the new Note20 5G and Note20 Ultra 5G.

We continue to roll out Australia’s best 5G to more and more cities and regional centres, and the Galaxy S20 Ultra is built to access the incredible speeds our network has to offer.

The possibilities 5G* offers are extensive. Its potential to deliver high speeds and low latency can enable not only fast download speeds for our customers, but also unlocks capacity for thousands of new devices working together on our network.

Check our coverage maps to find out more about 5G near you.

Availability

This great new range of gear is game-changing, and we’re excited to carry them.

From today, we’ll be stocking:

MRO 24-months
Samsung Galaxy Note20 5G 256GB   $68.70 (min. cost $1649 over 24 months plus chosen plan costs)
Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G 256GB  $83.29 (min. cost $1999 over 24 months plus chosen plan costs)

The Samsung Note20 5G and Note20 Ultra 5G are available from 9am, 21 August 2020.

The range will be available on a 24-month payment term and as an add-on to our month-to-month plans.

To find out more, check out our hands-on video above.