Group Executive, Consumer & Small Business -
The annual Consumer Electronics Show – or CES – sets the stage for the year ahead in tech. With almost 200,000 attendees from around the world converging on Las Vegas in January each year, it is the largest event of its kind and is where tech companies go to showcase their latest cutting-edge products.
Our thoughts for those at home
It is a
strange feeling being over here in Las Vegas, watching the bushfire crisis
unfold in Australia.
We’re also matching donations from our people to the Red
Cross for the month of January to help ensure these communities get the help
they need to get back their feet. We’ll continue to do all we can throughout
the year to help ensure the affected communities can stay connected and
While it has
been difficult to divert our attention away from the news back home, we didn’t
want to miss the opportunity to update you on the latest from Telstra at CES
given that’s what we’re here for.
We’re happy that our customers are embracing gaming like never before thanks to the convenient bundle that puts hundreds of games on offer faster than ever. To celebrate, we’re bringing more to our gaming offer than ever in 2020, with the addition of new games and hardware for our customers.
From January 28, 2020, we will be adding Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Deluxe Edition to the Xbox All Access Bundle. This game will also be offered on top of existing inclusions so that nobody misses out on the experience of being a Jedi Master. Furthermore, we’ll be offering the amazing new Xbox Elite Wireless controller on a repayment option over 24 and 36 months and adding it to our Telstra Plus Rewards Store.
We’re continuing to make our network faster for gamers too, building on the existing work we’ve done with Microsoft to make access to Xbox content even faster and more reliable. The work we teased late last year on creating a gaming optimised broadband product also isn’t too far away. We think it offers a real point of difference from customers that are purchasing additional gaming routers or gaming VPNs today in a way that’s simple and integrated into our Smart Modem. Over time we think there’s some cool concepts that could incorporate the work we’re doing on low-latency mobile connections and give gamers the choice of network they want to use to get the best gaming outcome.
Gaming is a $7
billion per year business in Australia alone, and the appetite for our Xbox All
Access offering certainly confirms that it’s no fly-by-night fad.
Group Executive, Consumer & Small Business -
Michael is responsible for all our Consumer & Small Business sales and service channels. He joined Telstra in 2016 as Executive Director of Telstra Country Wide, with responsibility for over 350 retail stores and over 16,000 partners nationally.
Michael joined Telstra from GE, where held the role of CEO GE Healthcare, Australia and New Zealand. In his 12 years at GE, Michael held various executive leadership roles across GE’s Australia and New Zealand business, including financial services, corporate and healthcare divisions. Prior to GE, Michael was Principal at The Boston Consulting Group, where he worked for eight years.
The biggest download spikes of the year: by the numbers
Break out the floss and hit ‘em with the dab: Fortnite absolutely dominated our network this year! We’ve taken a look at the numbers and found the top data spikes for 2019.
We break our network down into two categories: fixed and
wireless, each with their own distinct data spikes throughout the year.
On our fixed network, Fortnite dominated! Four of the top 10 data spikes of the year coincided with big Fortnite updates, including the release of Chapter 2 and milestone patches.
Elsewhere in the top 10, streaming dominated the charts. The Australian premiere of The Mandalorian on newly minted streaming service Disney+; the Australia Day Weekend and the Cricket World Cup all made the top 10.
Out and about on the mobile network, Halloween and big sporting events took over as people communicated with their friends and sent pictures and videos back-and-forth. The biggest data spike on mobile was the equivalent of approximately 1.3 million HD Movie Downloads or 850 million Instagram uploads.
While we predict that this year voice calls and Christmas messages (SMS, MMS & Telstra Messaging) will be similar in volume to last year (46 million and 44 million respectively). We expect that data volume will jump more than 50% year on year to around 3.5 Petabytes. That is equivalent to approximately 1.4 million downloads of Love Actually.
Coomera: the data capital of the nation
Take a short drive from Brisbane down toward Queensland’s Gold Coast and you’ll stumble upon the regional gem of Coomera. Flanked by picturesque golf courses and the quiet, lapping banks of the aptly named Coomera River, this town of just over 13,000 people boasts the biggest data usage in the nation for 2019!
Queensland’s state average for monthly data consumption is a
little over 268GB per month, making it the second highest data consuming state
in the nation behind the Northern Territory. Coomera eclipses the state
average, consuming a whopping 445.8GB per month per household.
Coomera narrowly edged out a variety of other suburbs for
their whopping data usage, mainly in Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia
and New South Wales:
Usage per household (GB)
State-by-state, the Northern Territory came in first place
as we mentioned with 290GB per month per household, followed by Queensland,
Western Australia (251.4GB/month); Victoria (244.86GB/month); New South Wales
(242.4GB/month); Tasmania (233GB/month); South Australia (228.11GB/month), and
the Australian Capital Territory (222.2GB/month).
 Between 1 January 2019 and mid-December 2019. Events noted correlate with the traffic peaks but might not be the only or biggest cause of data spikes on these dates.
Luke Hopewell is an editor, tech expert and Senior Specialist Writer at Telstra Exchange. Luke joined Telstra in 2019 where he has had the privilege to help bring stories to life in a unique and human way. He was previously the head of editorial at Twitter Australia and the editor of cult tech site Gizmodo. For over a decade, Luke’s passion for technology has always driven him to seek out the latest gadgets and game-changers, and help others to understand how it all works. In another life he was a cyber security specialist where he sought to educate people about how to stay safe online. When he's not writing, he's getting outdoors and patting all the nice dogs he meets.
It’s been a great decade for video games across every platform. From consoles to PC to VR to smartphones – if you want something to while away the hours, you’ll find something amazing.
Before we twiddle our thumbs into the 2020s, it’s time to take a look back at some of our team’s favourite games of the 2010s. For the shape of gaming to come in the next decade, we’re about to enter the era of 5G, nbn, and a new world of Xbox All Access. While we’re excited about each of those, here are some games that got us through the last 10 years.
Zanoni – Channel Specialist
Threes! is the
perfect game. I bought it on its release on iOS in February 2014 and I’ve been
playing it ever since. In the intervening years, I’ve missed countless bus,
tram, and train stops because of it.
It’s just a charming puzzler where you match numbers. Combine a 1
and a 2 to make a 3, two 3s to make a 6, and then a 12, a 24, and so on until
you’ve cornered yourself and you can’t make any more moves.
It’s simple but also diabolical. The game’s out to get you,
constantly throwing spanners and wrenches and shovels into your carefully laid
machinery. It’s evil wrapped in a twee grin and I can’t stop playing it. Maybe
I never will.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf
Zanoni – Channel Specialist
I haven’t played New Leaf for years but, every now and then, I
wonder how my town’s going. What’s Pekoe been up to since she left? Did Angus
ever get his act together. Probably not.
Such is the power of Animal Crossing’s wholesome life simulator
that my virtual town exists as a real place in my memory. The camping site we
built. The almost-but-not-quite complete fossil collection. The flower garden
that slowly took over a quarter of the town.
Animal Crossing is a wholesome life simulator. It has nostalgia
built into its core. I’ve spent more time thinking about it than almost any
other game this decade. And, with the next Animal Crossing game launching next
yeah, it could be my game of the 2020s too.
Simpson – External Editorial Lead
Hollow Knight is the single best game I’ve ever played.
It’s a side-scrolling platformer set in a murky underground world of bugs, but
it’s so much more than that too.
The art is gorgeous. The music is beautiful. The combat is
challenging. The story – yes, there’s a story! – is high concept and, at times,
heartbreaking. The difficulty of the game scales almost perfectly as you
progress, too, and there’s so much to explore as you go. It can be hugely
complex if you want it to be, but it’s never overwhelming.
It’s incredible to imagine a game with this depth of lore,
incredible beauty in design and environment, and high skill level being made by
three Aussies in Adelaide. It’s available on a bunch of different platforms, and
you owe yourself to try it – even if just to support an Australian developer.
The team is working on a sequel, Silksong, that looks even more intense
and intricately crafted.
Simpson – External Editorial Lead
StardewValley is my mental health tonic.
There’s nothing I find more relaxing than logging on to my little rural farm
after a long day at work and completing all the little rituals that the game
offers up: planting and watering crops, saving up to build a chicken coop or a
barn for goats, designing and building all the many and varied parts that make
up the smoothly running operation I’ve made – water sprinklers, kegs for making
wine, keeping bees or growing mushrooms or any of a dozen different equally
simple and enjoyable pursuits.
But you don’t have to do any of that, either. You can spend
your time in Stardew Valley just walking around making friends with the
couple of dozen villagers that populate the town, or foraging for wild plants,
exploring a mine full of monsters, or standing on the beach fishing for 12
hours straight. It’s all fun, and the stakes are so low.
I’ve been playing a couple of different games of Stardew with my girlfriend for a couple of years now. It’s a fantastic multiplayer game more so than on your own; as long as you can find an hour or two to sit in the same room and chat away as you’re mining or fishing or tending crops, you’ll have a wonderful time.
Nhu Vo –
2019 Graduate, Telstra Enterprise
The mobile gaming world in the 2010s
saw the arrival of Candy Crush, My Talking Tom and Clash of
Clans but none of them brought the same level of craze and feeling of
nostalgia like Pokémon Go did.
After disappearing off the face of the
earth in the 90s, Pokémon was suddenly popular again and instantly became a global
and cultural phenomenon. Budding Pokémon trainers far and wide got to live out
their childhood dreams with a real-life experience to catch their favourite
Pokémons in the real-world using AR.
Gone were the days of sitting idly on
the couch tapping away as we explored new suburbs, parks, streets, even
accidentally trespassing someone’s property just to catch that rare Charmander.
Never did we think that such an app got people outdoors exercising, encouraging
strangers to go on walks together, gathering at random public places chasing
Pokémon Go has got to be the game of the decade as it brought AR into
mainstream gaming, showing us a brand new way for people of all ages to play
together both inside and outside the virtual world on their phones.
Matthew Wu – Product & Technology Communications Lead
I have a confession. I’m not a gamer.
Well, I am. But not in the way most of my colleagues in this blog post are. I
don’t think I’ve played more than 10 games this decade. That’s because I like to play games competitively.
Growing up, I competed in Counter-Strike and Call of Duty tournaments. I also got lost in World of Warcraft before I quit cold turkey – it was hard. But
these were games of the 2000s.
The game of the decade for me is DOTA 2, the free multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game by Valve released in 2013.
While I was never as overly committed
to the game as I was to my earlier FPS exploits (I’m now mainly playing
Overwatch #AsheMain), DOTA 2 is one
of the most-played video games on Steam. It has a sharp learning curve – like
most MOBAs including League of Legends,
a game that’s played by nearly three times more people – and it’s this complex
permutation of balanced hero meta and strategy that makes the game one of the
biggest titles for esports this decade. Nearly nine million people played last
month and millions more watch YouTube videos and livestreams of amateurs and
professionals playing – not bad for a six-year-old game.
DOTA 2’s annual
official tournament, The International, also transformed the esports industry
and has created celebrities, memes, and even a few controversies. It’s not
surprising, considering the latest 2019 tournament had a prize pool of more
than $50 million.
Celebrities were born overnight: Navi,
Dendi, Alliance, AdmiralBulldog, SingSing, IG, OG; and a special mention to
Melbourne’s Anathan ‘ana’ Pham who was part of the 5-person team that won this
year’s tournament, netting the 20-year-old a cool $4.6 million for his hard
work. In comparison, Novak Djokovic won $4.1 million for taking out the
Australian Open this year.
It’s hard to measure the scope and
impact of the game against non-esports games and other esports titles. But one
thing is for certain. My pick for this decade’s biggest and most significant
esports title is DOTA 2.
– Senior Content Specialist
In a lot of ways, Grand Theft Auto V had a lot to live up to. Its predecessor was one
of the biggest, fully-realised open word games ever (for the time) and each
iteration seems to come with a whole wave of controversy.
Bigger still was the advent of online
play. Was GTA going to deliver on so
many fronts? Well, it did. It came out in 2013 and STILL it’s on the Top 10
Lists for most-sold games. Its enduring legacy comes from its immense depth,
enduring story, and enormous online components.
I still go back to play GTA every other year and each time I get
something different out of it. Three main characters, a caricatured Los
Angeles, and the ability to flip to online at any time means there’s always
something to do.
The sharp writing and cutting satire
are reason alone for me to revisit Los Santos, but I think it says a lot about
a game if I’m content merely jumping into a car and driving around a digital
city listening to talk-back radio. This game is a triumph.
– Senior Content Specialist
While still pretty niche, the Persona games are known for their mix of
intricate RPG strategy with high-concept relationship building. It’s basically
a high-school simulator where the main characters moonlight as demon hunters in
a parallel universe.
Persona 5 builds on
everything its predecessors set up: rich character interaction, fractal-like
decision making, meaningful time-management, and timeless music. The Persona series introduced me to
acid-jazz and it’s music that can be looped for hours on end without ever
Which is important because this game
is long. It covers the real-time calendar of about 10 months in the hero
character’s school year and you really play every day. It’s up to you decide
whether you study, build your friendships, or fight demons and the opportunity
costs have consequences.
This structure invites you to come back and play again and again, which is a concept that never loses its appeal. And that’s especially impressive for a game that demands at least 100+ hours of your life. But it’s 100+ hours well spent.
FTL – Faster than Light
Luke Hopewell – Senior Specialist Writer
2012’s FTL is not just my game of this decade. It’s odds-on to be my game of the next decade too.
Subset Games glorious creation puts you in command of a Galactic Federation ship that has to traverse one side of the galaxy to another with information that will topple the surging rebellion, all while being pursued by the rebel fleet you stole it from. It’s definitely simple to play, but almost impossible to master.
With every faster-than-light jump, you put it all on the line as random scenarios jump out at you, and the challenges can start to take their toll the further you fly. Each jump costs you fuel. Each fight costs you ammunition. Each transaction costs you precious scrap you can use to repair your ship. Every piece of energy in your ship matters as you balance shield strength with weapon charge time. And all of it can be brought to a swift end if you’re outmatched and your FTL drive doesn’t charge fast enough. It’s top-down strategy at its most action-packed, and the soundtrack is something I still bump in my headphones while I’m writing.
On top of being an incredible play experience with branching scenarios and intense space battles, it’s one of the best games to ever be ported from PC to iPad. I strongly believe the successful port of FTL to tablet kicked off porting culture as we know it today. It gave way to games like Telltale’s The Walking Dead andthe genre-defining Fortnite.
Campbell is the External Editorial Lead at Telstra, and is responsible for Telstra Exchange's editorial strategy and publishing. In his role, Campbell finds interesting stories from within our business and shares them in new and innovative ways. He came to Telstra after working as a technology journalist for over a decade at websites like Gizmodo, CNET and PC World, and has a longtime love of tech and gadgets. When he's not writing, Campbell spends his downtime outdoors whenever possible, hiking, camping or mountain biking around New South Wales.