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2018 Telstra Innovation Challenge winners: tech solutions for a healthier tomorrow

Tech and Innovation IoT

Posted on May 29, 2018

3 min read

Together with our industry partner Bupa, we challenged teams from across Australia to build Internet of Things (IoT) technology solutions for some of the most interesting challenges in the health and wellness industry.

Wearable devices and diagnostic systems dominated the field at this year’s Telstra Innovation Challenge as teams showed how IoT technologies could be used to improve the lives of patients and assist those who work in the healthcare industry in providing the best care.

The teams across both Challenge streams worked hard designing, building and coding hardware devices that leveraged our Cat M1 IoT network capability and Bupa’s insights as a leader in the health and wellness industry.

Congratulations to our winners!

Our 2018 Telstra Innovation Challenge winners

Public Stream Winner – Lynxx

“Sitting is the new smoking” – Ergorithm is a wearable device that strives to promote a desirable posture for its users. The team produced a belt using the Cat M1 board and a sensor, which can be calibrated based on the specific user, to monitor the user’s lower back posture and give real time feedback (i.e. alert if bad posture). In the future the design could be extended to also cover neck posture.

University Stream Winner – Team Laika (RMIT)

The Me-MG, a wearable EMG biofeedback unit, empowers users to exercise during home based rehabilitation by giving them real time feedback on their level of muscle activation and movement extension through a number of on-body lights and a display screen. One light will indicate the degree of flex in the knee and the other the muscle activation; together they will be an accurate measure of how well the patient is performing the exercise. The device must be calibrated to the individual by their physio based on custom thresholds that can be updated remotely over our dashboard. The dashboard is accessible to both the patients and the physios, and is a platform where they can access the muscle activity and flex data directly, review analytics, data tends, and set themselves or their patient’s goal for their rehabilitation over all.

Innovation Winner – Health is Wealth

A Point of Care (PoC) diagnostic system to detect presence and severity of Xerostomia (a.k.a Dry Mouth condition). One of the sensors measures the salivary flow rate implanted or by the way of removable prosthetics inserted in the mouth by a dentist. The other custom-built sensor measures volatile organic compounds (gases) coming out of the mouth. These sensors are connected to the IoT development board and the data from these sensors will be analysed using machine learning to improve the quality of condition detection.

The 2018 Telstra Innovation Challenge finalist pitching awards event was held at Telstra Labs in Melbourne on 26 May.

Thanks to all of our sponsors who helped us deliver another great event in 2018.

Gold sponsors: Cisco, Ericsson, Telstra Health and Microsoft
Silver sponsors: Intel, muru-D, Qualcomm, Tekt Industries and Little Bird Electronics

eSports opens a new world of gaming, connecting shared passions online

Tech and Innovation

Posted on May 11, 2018

4 min read

In its current format, eSports – another name for competitive multiplayer gaming – has been around for over a decade internationally. In Australia, we’re now seeing eSports events sell out entire stadiums to fans eager to watch their favourite athletes compete onstage. It’s a turning point for the online pursuit entering Aussie homes alongside traditional sports viewing, and fans can take part more than ever before.

eSports is a billion-dollar industry worldwide, and it’s just as lucrative for its top competitive athletes as well. One of the highest-profile eSports championships in 2017, The International 7, pitted dozens of teams playing the online battle arena game DotA 2 for a total prize pool of nearly $US25 million. And with nearly $US24 million of that prize pool coming from the pockets of fans keen to watch the action, it’s clear that there’s a ready-made audience for the digital sport.

eSports events are only becoming more popular in Australia as well. The biggest events of 2017 packed out Sydney stadiums with tens of thousands of excited fans, and this year is set to improve on that. With eSports competitions often being broadcast online on platforms like Twitch available for everyone to watch, too, it’s a worldwide phenomenon. More events and tournaments are happening around the world in 2018, too – eSports is here to stay.

What is eSports, and how did it get started?

‘eSports’ is another name for professional gaming, in competitions that usually take the form of organised multiplayer matches – either online, or in person in the case of big worldwide competitions and tournaments. Like traditional sports, eSports covers different game types like real-time strategy titles (top-down games like Starcraft 2 where the player controls dozens of different units on a battlefield) and first-person shooters (where the player represents one individual, often in a team of other players up against opponents or working to complete an objective).

Competitive gaming has been around since ‘70s arcade parlours and the first home game consoles, but eSports as we know it found its roots in the internet cafes of South Korea – ‘PC bangs’, where players could pay an hourly fee and play different games against friends in-store or online. In the 1990s and early 2000s, as broadband home internet became more popular and affordable, these games and their players moved to regular online battles at nights and weekends.

In the past decade, pro-level eSports has moved from cyber cafés and homes to exhibitions in stadiums and arenas – where there were 10 tournaments worldwide in 2000, 260 in 2010, and that number has only risen since. Worldwide eSports organisations and the long-term success of games like Counter-Strike has turned these competitions into a true test of players’ skills – not just their reflexes, but their teamwork, strategy and understanding of the most intricate details of a game’s ‘meta’. Just as traditional sports’ rules evolve over years, so do the rules for each game, its competitive play, and its organising body.

What does the future hold for eSports in Australia and the world?

The biggest eSports tournaments are already broadcast live online to tens of millions of viewers simultaneously, rivalling Australia’s largest sporting events. When you realise that the most popular video game in the world – 2013’s Grand Theft Auto V – has made more money than any blockbuster movie and left ticket sales for any sporting event in the dust, you start to realise the scale of what’s to come.

We’re already living in a world where eSports teams and players are bought and traded like any NRL, AFL or other high-level traditional sport player are, and the prizes for top competitions stretch into the tens of millions of dollars. Players live in dedicated houses with high-speed connectivity and train for hours a day, honing their skills to become the best. It’s clear that eSports isn’t going away any time soon, and as our world becomes even more connected it will only grow and thrive.

eSports is nearly unique in that it allows for everyday gamers, sitting at home in front of their TVs or computer screens, to play the same games as the world’s best players. Indeed, every professional gamer out there today got their start as a hobbyist, and we’re seeing the first eSports athletes with full-time careers starting as young as age 16. As the networks connecting us to each other and to the world become faster and more powerful, we’ll all be able to take part in eSports at every level – from the couch to the stadium.

Unlimited data has arrived on Australia’s best mobile network

Tech and Innovation

Posted on May 1, 2018

2 min read

Many of you have asked for it, and today we have announced our first smartphone plan with unlimited data, giving customers the freedom to use their smartphone without ever worrying about data limits on the nation’s best network.

We have invested billions in our network, pioneered world-leading 4G speeds and pushed our 4G coverage out to more than 99 per cent of the population. We are now introducing the unlimited plan Australians tell us they want while maintaining the superior network experience they expect.

Available from 3 May 2018 and priced at $69 per month on a 12 month plan (min cost $828), the Telstra Endless Data BYO plan comes with unlimited data, including 40GB of data at uncapped speeds followed by peace of mind data capped at 1.5Mbps for the remainder of the month.

By the way, if you’re wondering what you may be able to do with speeds capped at 1.5Mbps, it’s most suitable to stream video in standard definition on your mobile, listen to music, browse the web and access social media.

The plan also includes unlimited talk, text and MMS to standard Australian numbers plus exclusive extras available to Telstra mobile customers – including unlimited Wi-Fi data at more than one million Telstra Air hotspots around Australia and access to every AFL, NRL and netball game this season live, fast and data free.

Many customers love our existing plans and we will continue to offer our popular handset, leasing and BYO plans that now include our most generous data inclusions on record. The addition of our Endless Data BYO plan gives customers even more choice when looking to use a smartphone on Australia’s largest and most reliable network.

Sign up for the Endless Data BYO Plan here.

The Endless Data BYO plan is for personal use in a smartphone only. After 40GB, speeds capped at 1.5Mbps and slowed further during busy periods (not suitable for HD video or high speed applications). Our FairPlay Policy also applies.

Tags: innovation,

Our new Go Repeaters bring mobile coverage to more places

Regional Devices

Posted on May 1, 2018

4 min read

Today we launched Telstra Go Repeaters – an intelligent antenna solution designed to improve mobile coverage or provide coverage in some places where it’s unavailable. Developed as part of our investment in mobile coverage for regional customers, the device can help improve voice quality and data speeds for both residential and business customers.

We know reliable coverage is at the heart of what our customers want from us. Over the previous three financial years alone, we have invested $2.2 billion in our regional mobile network so more Australians can experience a connected world that supports their way of life.

In addition to upgrading our mobile network in hundreds of regional locations to 4GX, bringing mobile coverage to some of the most remote communities of Australia, we also continue to look for ways to help customers connect with a number of products available like the Telstra Go Repeater that have been developed with our regional customers in mind.

The new Go Repeater is available in two variants: a stationary version designed for customers seeking a coverage solution in residential and commercial premises, and a portable version designed for customers that want to boost coverage in their car, truck or boat. Operating on both our 3G, 4G and 4GX technology, the device works by receiving mobile signals through an external antenna and then enhancing and re-transmitting this signal to a single indoor or in vehicle antenna to extend coverage.

The mobile variant of the new Telstra Go Repeater (above), designed to be installed in vehicles, and the stationary solution (below) for home or business installation.

Suitable for customers that travel between coverage areas or through areas of patchy coverage, or who work in offices or live in residences where indoor signal may be weaker or lacking, Telstra Go Repeater can both improve and extend coverage in areas where signal doesn’t reach.

The launch builds on a number of initiatives that allow our regional customers to connect and businesses to thrive, such as Telstra Wi-Fi Calling that provides voice calling capability on compatible devices when connected to a supported Wi-Fi network, even when the mobile signal is weak or absent, and our Blue Tick rating that signifies a mobile device has been thoroughly tested to deliver superior voice coverage in rural areas.

We are also an active participant in the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program, one of the largest ever expansions of mobile coverage in regional and rural Australia. We are bringing new and improved mobile coverage to regional and remote communities with more than 650 new mobile base stations being built through the Program, and have already delivered over half of these sites. This is more than double the commitment of all other carriers combined and representing a total Telstra investment of $260 million.

Customers can take up the Telstra Go Repeater on a monthly repayment plan or purchase the device outright, at a RRP of $648 for the stationary version or RRP of $720 for the portable version which includes an external magnetic mount antenna and internal antenna. The stationary version will require an external antenna at an additional cost and is required to be professionally installed. We do not offer installation for the portable version and it is recommended that customers arrange installation by an auto-electrician if required.

Things you need to know

  • The Telstra Mobile Network offers 4GX in all capital CBDs and selected suburban and regional areas and is progressively rolling out to more places. In other coverage areas around Australia, you’ll automatically switch to our fastest available 4G or 3G. Check coverage here.
  • 4GX speeds: Speeds vary for reasons like location, distance from base stations, terrain, user numbers, hardware/software configuration, download source and upload destination.
  • Both the portable and stationary versions of the Telstra Go Repeater have been tested, authorised and approved by Telstra for use on the Telstra Mobile Network. The Telstra Go Repeater is compatible with Telstra’s Next G® Network and 4GX service operating on 3G 850MHz and 4G 700MHz / 1800MHz bands.
  • A single External Antenna (not included) is required to receive the macro-network signals, and a single Indoor Antenna (included) is required where you need service.
  • The type of External and Internal antenna is dependent on the specific use cases and coverage scenario.
  • Blue-Tick rating devices are tested for receiver sensitivity in a laboratory under controlled conditions and in rural areas on the Telstra Mobile Network, ensuring optimal call quality for customers.

How far we’ve come: celebrating the 25th anniversary of 2G


Posted on April 27, 2018

3 min read

Time flies when you’re having fun. Today is the 25 year anniversary of the Global System for Mobiles network, otherwise known as GSM or 2G.

On 27 April 1993, Telstra was the first telecommunications provider in Australia to launch GSM, which was the second generation of mobile technology after analog. At the time, just making a phone call on the move was a novelty and it took some time to convince the Australian public that digital technology was here to stay.

But 2G made the mobile phone accessible to the mass market and Australians embraced the new ‘digital’ world. With promises of more consistent and clearer voice, increased talk time and greater security from eavesdropping (a big selling point in the media and political landscape of the early 90s), the technology quickly gained popularity.

By 1995, our GSM network had 100,000 customers, in 1996 that had risen to 300,000 and at the beginning of 2003 there were over 5.4 million customers using the network1.

Our mobile network and telecommunications more broadly has come a long way since that launch. Technology evolved and customers moved onto our 3G and 4G services that offer faster speeds and experiences one could only have dreamed about in 1993.

We’re now preparing for the launch of 5G in 2019, which will see even faster speeds, ultra low latency, and connection IoT devices on a mass scale.

We closed our 2G service in December 2016. At that time, 2G accounted for less than 1 per cent of our mobile network traffic. From launch to closure, 2G helped Australians make more than 87 billion phone calls and send billions of text messages over the network.


  • At launch, 55 per cent of the population had 2G coverage, which included all mainland capitals except for Darwin. At that time 85 per cent of the population had 1G coverage
  • At launch, there were only 635,000 analogue mobile phones in Australia, with less than 4 per cent of people having one
  • By December 1993, there were 660 base stations around Australia
  • 2G could handle 20,000 simultaneous calls and connected 53 million calls a month


  • Telstra’s 3G and 4G coverage combined reaches 99.4 per cent of the population. It covers 2.5 million square kilometres of the Australian landmass, including hundreds of thousands of square kilometres of regional and rural Australia not served by any other carrier
  • There are more than 17 million mobile devices on Telstra’s mobile network
  • Telstra has more than 9,200 sites across the network around Australia
  • Telstra’s mobile network connects 460 million calls, sends 47 million text messages, and carries more than 45 petabytes of data each month
  • 1. AMTA: Ten years of GSM in Australia