A couple using their mobile smartphone for 5G download speeds outdoors
5G | Network |

We’re leading the 5G charge with our super-speeds and wider availability, and we’re not done yet

By Sri Amirthalingam August 21, 2020

As a consumer, all you see is the little 5G logo on your smartphone or modem. But behind the logo, there’s more than meets the eye. Not all 5G networks are created equal, and recent benchmarks and tests have revealed that ours is more equal than most. In fact, these tests give us even greater confidence that we really do have Australia’s best 5G. By a lot.

The testing

umlaut has a reputation as the global industry leader in mobile benchmarking. You may remember umlaut as the people who awarded us best mobile network in Australia in late 2019. As we move into the second half of 2020, we’re still out to impress thanks to the results of its most recent Australian 5G Audit Report.

With separate Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G devices in tow, one on each carrier’s mobile network, umlaut drove over 7000 kilometres around Australia measuring the availability and speed of the different mobile networks from Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.

Data tests included a stress test to measure file download and upload speeds, live web browsing testing, YouTube streaming, and latency tests.

The results

So, how did we do? If you’ve ever used our 5G, you won’t be surprised to learn that our speed is the real deal.

According to the umlaut results, Telstra 5G has the highest average download speeds, and our 5G coverage was more widely available in all of the eight cities tested. As just one example, Telstra showed nearly twice the 5G availability in Melbourne compared to its nearest competitor and our 5G average download speeds were nearly twice as fast. And in Sydney, the tests showed our average download speeds were nearly 50 per cent faster than our closest competitor.

5G availability results around Australia. (Source: umlaut)

The average download speeds on our network show we’re well ahead of our competition.

On average across the eight cities tested, our 5G achieved average download speeds above 220 Mbps, which is an excellent result. These results mean that we have the highest average download speeds in each of the tested cities when measured against our closest competitor. Our network speeds also peaked at over 900Mbps in one location, which is truly remarkable.

The graph below shows that our 5G is also more widely available in all the cities tested according to umlaut’s results. umlaut’s “5G availability” is defined as the percentage of time during the survey that a 5G connection was possible (meaning 5G coverage was present). This means their 5G availability metric is a measure of coverage availability on the routes driven and we consider this broadly corresponds to coverage.

5G availability results around Australia. (Source: umlaut)

While the tests show we have greater 5G availability in the eight major cities and regional centres tested, there are dozens of other cities and towns that we have unique 5G coverage in that aren’t included in the survey. So it’s only the tip of the iceberg on our 5G coverage around the country.

These results tell a much deeper story than a simple speed test does, demonstrating that our 5G is not only faster (on average), but is available in more places in the cities tested.

View the full results of umlaut’s Australian 5G Audit Report.

Building bigger and better for a faster future

We’re excited to have such a great 5G network for our customers ready to use right now, but we’re not done building yet. We’re already in selected areas of 53 cities and regional towns around Australia with a 5G service, and more than 10 million Aussies now live, work or pass through our 5G network footprint each day. This puts us a long way ahead, and we’re not about to slow down.

Our CEO, Andy Penn, recently said that 5G will shape the 2020s, and we’re leading the charge. Our 5G network already covers around one-third of the population, and by June next year, we aim to cover 75% of the population.

We continue to invest heavily in 5G. In the five years to end June 2020, Telstra invested $7.5 billion in our mobile network nationally with much of this on 5G. Not only that, earlier this year we made the decision to bring forward $500 million of capital expenditure from the second half of FY21 into calendar year 2020 to help us accelerate the 5G roll-out at a time when Australia needs access to the digital economy more than ever.

We want all Australians to enjoy the benefits of Australia’s best 5G. And we’ll stay busy to ensure it hits your street soon.

To see where Telstra 5G is available, and where it will be available in coming months, check our coverage maps.

Tullah Lakeside
Network |

Switching on better, faster coverage for Tasmanians

By Michael Patterson August 20, 2020

As times change, we’re dedicated to keeping more Australians connected to what matters. That’s why we’re thrilled to bring fast and reliable coverage to Tasmania’s west coast with a $5.2 million network upgrade, delivered a whole year ahead of schedule.

The town of Tullah, Tasmania is now enjoying dedicated Telstra mobile coverage for the first time thanks to a new 4GX tower, allowing the peaceful former mining town and its 150 residents to connect with the future.

The towns of Waratah and Savage River are enjoying faster coverage thanks to 4GX upgrades to their mobile towers. Meanwhile, Zeehan and Strahan are also feeling the digital love thanks to upgraded radio transmission links that boost mobile performance.

We’re thrilled to provide the first dedicated Telstra mobile site in Tullah. The upgrades to other nearby towns are also a boon for digital inclusion and productivity for the Apple Isle.

And to boot, the project was completed more than a year ahead of schedule, meaning we’re able to bring the improvements Western Tassie needs sooner than ever.

Tullah lake

The project involved key upgrades and delivery of important infrastructure including a new transmission ring between Launceston and Burnie to boost resilience, new fibre and capacity from Burnie to Queenstown and new radio links into Zeehan, Strahan, Tullah and Waratah to more than double the existing capacity.

This project is about more than just faster mobile speeds though – it’s about building more capacity, reliability and resilience into the network, so that we’ve created a real platform for future growth to cater for increasing demand.

The project was carried out with the Federal Government and it also marks a new, unique partnership with TasNetworks, as we utilise its 42-24 fibre network to boost capacity along Tasmania’s west coast for better east-to-west connectivity.

We can’t wait to see what locals do with the incredible new connectivity now available in the area, to bring the promise of the digital economy to life for these communities.

Netgear Orbi 4GX Router with “Satellite”
Devices | Network | Tech and Innovation |

Internet made easy with the Netgear Orbi 4GX Router with Satellite

By Andrew Stormont August 5, 2020

Getting great internet shouldn’t be difficult, nor should it take an age to get online. That’s why we’re excited to exclusively carry the new Netgear Orbi 4GX Router with Satellite mesh Wi-Fi system for great mobile broadband internet in the home, office or anywhere you get good coverage on the Telstra mobile network.

Fast connections, delivered even faster

Netgear Orbi 4GX Router with “Satellite”

The best part about the Orbi 4GX router is how fast you can get online. Just plug it in, connect and you’re ready to go.

The Orbi is an 802.11ac Wi-Fi modem/router that runs on our mobile network. It can keep up to 30 Wi-Fi devices connected at once, meaning it’s great for your family home, office or smart home.

Because the new Orbi router runs on our awesome 4GX network, in 4GX coverage areas, it will give you access to typical download of 5 to 300Mbps. Actual speeds will, however, vary for reasons like location, distance from base stations, terrain, user numbers, hardware/software configuration, download source and upload destination.

The Orbi provides extended Wi-Fi coverage around the home thanks to the bundled satellite, and includes Wi-Fi 802.11ac for faster high-quality Wi-Fi, ideal for streaming video, and high speed data transfer.

More Wi-Fi in more places

Netgear Orbi 4GX Router with “Satellite”

It’s called the Orbi’s “satellite”, and it uses mesh networking to boost the range of the Wi-Fi network around your home. Thanks to the satellite mesh network, you’ll have up to 280-square metres of Wi-Fi coverage.

And you don’t have to worry about switching between different networks, either: the router and satellite work together to create a single Wi-Fi network, to keep it simple.

That means you can move around a home, an office or confidant, with greater access to the speed you need to get things done and stay entertained and informed.

The Orbi supports high-speed data transfer; up to 4K streaming, and also powers great gaming experiences, and with the power of Telstra’s 4GX network.

Easier control over what matters

Netgear Orbi 4GX Router with “Satellite”

The Orbi 4GX router with Satellite is a great way to be online if you’re someone who wants set-and-forget connectivity. But if you’re looking to take more control of your home internet, Orbi makes it easy.

Following the quick set-up, your settings can be controlled via the Orbi smartphone app for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. It allows you to see a list of connected devices, control their individual access to the internet, create a network for guests and more.

It even supports commands via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant to make controlling it even easier.

Netgear also offers a range of safety features compatible with the Orbi 4GX router, including a basic version of the Circle Smart Parenting app. You can also add a subscription, that gives you access to filters, history and access pause functionality for every member of the family. The product comes with a one-month free trial of additional security protection software that defends against online threats.

Availability

The Orbi 4GX router is an incredible mobile broadband solution, and we’re thrilled to be bringing it to our customers from today.

You can get the Orbi 4GX Router with Satellite on these selected plans.

Head into a Telstra Store or see our website for more information.

Things you need to know:

4GX: 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 at telstra.com/coverage.

Typical download speeds in 4GX areas are 5 -300Mbps with category 16 devices, 5-200Mbps with category 11 devices, 5-150Mbps with category 9 devices, 2-100Mbps with category 6 devices, and 2-75Mbps with category 4 devices. Outside 4GX areas, you will switch to our fastest available 4G or 3G speeds. Speeds vary for reasons like location, distance from base stations, terrain, user numbers, hardware/software configuration, download source and upload destination.

Cyber security monitoring operations control room
Network | Tech and Innovation |

How we’re bolstering our digital economy with stronger fixed and mobile connectivity

By Nikos Katinakis July 17, 2020

The past few months of social restrictions have shown just how important connectivity is to keep the nation moving. As we emerge into a brave new world, ensuring fast, resilient and available connectivity is vital for economic momentum. We’re now thinking differently about how and where technology supports Australia’s incredible digital economy.

Lockdown: tackling an unprecedented network event

Security Operations Centre

Connectivity will have an ever-increasing and key nation-building role in the COVID-19 recovery efforts, as we grasp the opportunities the new digital economy will bring.

COVID-19 represents not only an unprecedented public safety event, but an unprecedented network event.

Our fixed and mobile networks, which stretch to more corners of our country and cover more Australians than any other, are massive and complex. On a normal week, we manage the capacity of our networks through various measures to ensure the best connectivity and reliability for our millions of customers. We’ve been doing this for a long time, and we’re proud of how well we do it.

Our team is working hard during the pandemic to ensure our network stays resilient, fast and available for our fixed and mobile customers.

Through COVID-19, voice calls on our national network have increased by as much as 40 percent and the number of mobile network text messages sent has risen by 21 percent.

We normally see a 30 to 40 percent increase in data traffic on our fixed network year-on-year. While we have seen daytime peak traffic on our fixed network increase by as much as 70 percent when compared with pre-COVID traffic, this increase is easily carried.

This increase – mainly in our uplink traffic – can be attributed largely to an increase in video calls used for meetings and schooling. Even still, this represents a small portion of the total traffic on our network.

The industry-wide collaboration between Retail Service Providers, nbn co and various content providers has played a key role in allowing these traffic increases to be absorbed painlessly. Given many people will continue to work and study from home for the foreseeable future, we think it makes sense to extend the 40 percent free allocation of CVCs (the separate volume-based pricing charge) for the locked down geographies for the time being or, as we and others in the industry have called for previously, for nbn co to look at removing the CVC pricing structure altogether.

Changing for the ‘new normal’

COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way our country works. A seemingly simple task like returning to the office is littered with new concerns that need to be accounted for. From social distancing in lifts to reconfiguring collaborative working spaces, we need to think differently about everything.

Based on this ‘new normal’ and knowing how vital connectivity is to ensuring a growing digital economy, we’re thinking about how we can help.

At the height of the pandemic, we announced that we would bring forward $500 million of capital expenditure planned for the second half of FY21 into calendar year 2020. This investment will increase capacity in our network and accelerate our rollout of 5G.

It will inject much needed investment into our economy at this time by allowing Australians to work, learn and create remotely, while connecting face-to-face at a COVID-safe distance.

Our 5G rollout started in 2018. With technology designed to provide high-speed, low-latency, high-capacity connectivity, we focussed on deploying 5G in densely populated areas like CBDs, airports and train stations.

A global pandemic, however, means that fewer people can be in those locations. We’re now refocussing some of our 5G investments to deploy into areas that need more network capacity as a priority such as suburbs and regional areas.

This also goes beyond our mobile network. We need to reconsider how Australians work remotely via fixed networks to provide the right technology, the right product, and the right price.

Securing the home-enterprise

The work from home regime will become permanent in some way for many of us and we are working to create the right technology conditions for this permanent setting to be successful.

As enterprises keep their employees working from home for a protracted period, we must consider how that traffic is treated on our network from a security and authentication perspective. This must be tackled at both the enterprise and the home front.

In an age where there are more cyber attacks over home Wi-Fi networks than ever, we need to consider ways to make the burgeoning “home-enterprise user” rapidly more secure through new types of security services.

As we continue to answer these security questions, we’re already rolling out smart security solutions to protect everyone. Our Cleaner Pipes initiative works to actively block cyber threats on our network that would compromise the safety of our customers’ personal information, for example.

This not only helps our consumer-grade customers to stay safe, but also works to keep the new “home-enterprise” customer safe as they work to remotely staff virtual facilities like contact centres and helpdesks.

Pushing to the edge

This fundamental shift in how Australians are working and connecting means we need to radically rethink how network applications are consumed. Thankfully, we’ve been thinking about this for a while with our work on edge-computing: an emerging area of how networks and applications will work in the future.

When you use an application (like a CRM or virtual computer), you can often be limited by the time it takes the network to communicate and action commands. By putting these new applications closer to where they are consumed by users, they will become a lot faster and more distributed than they are today for better performance over ultra-low latency networks like our 5G network. COVID-19 has accelerated the interest in such technology.

Distributing the network capabilities increases speed, security and reliability of an application. Distributing the network applications closer to the edge in multiple locations also cuts down the amount of time someone is disrupted in the event of a network outage.

That’s why our investment to bring better, faster and more reliable network experiences to our customers is an important foundation for the wider digital economy as we all work together to come through the COVID-19 situation as strongly as we can.

Based on nbn traffic.

Devices | Tech and Innovation |

Extra data for our mobile broadband customers at no extra cost

By Michael Ackland April 28, 2020

As we all get used to working and learning remotely, we’ve seen a huge jump in mobile broadband sign-ups and usage across the country. To make life easier, we’ve made some changes to our consumer and small business mobile broadband data plans to give you more value.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably lost track of time over the past couple of months, but take yourself back to the third week of March. This was the week many Australian businesses went into hibernation in response to the COVID-19 crisis, and a huge number of us started working from home. During this week, we saw the number of activations of mobile broadband data plans rise by almost 50 per cent from the previous week. The week after, we saw another increase of nearly a quarter again.

This was a reflection of many of us having to adapt to new remote working scenarios, creating new routines, and doing more videoconferencing than ever before. Supporting this shift, we have taken the decision to give a data boost to our new and existing customers to help you settle into that new normal.

From last week, we’ve updated the domestic data allowance on Small, Medium and Large mobile broadband data plans to give you more data at no extra charge – and for the Large plan double the data for the same monthly cost. All our existing consumer and small business mobile broadband customers on these plans will automatically see this extra data from their next billing cycle, as will any new sign-ups.

Our $25/month Small data plan is jumping from 10GB to 20GB of included data, while $50/month Medium data plan customers also get the same amount of extra data – from 50GB to 60GB included. If you’re on a $75/month Large plan, your old 100GB of included data has been doubled to a massive 200GB.

This all comes in addition to our other measures for consumer and small business customers, including the offer of 25GB of extra data to use in Australia within 30 days for post-paid mobile and mobile broadband customers, as well as unlimited home broadband data until 30 June 2020 for our customers with fixed (ADSL, nbn and cable) connections.

All our current mobile data plans also include no excess data charges in Australia, so you don’t have to worry about what happens when you hit your plan’s included limit. If you exceed your data allowance, you will still be able to access data but your speed will slow to 1.5Mbps.

Living and working in this new normal has been confronting for all of us. We have a range of support for customers and small business to make life a little easier as we all manage this disruption to our everyday lives – if you need assistance, please take a look at how we can help.

If you’re already on one of our mobile data plans, look out for an email that’ll confirm your new allowance – and enjoy!

Things you need to know:

Telstra’s FairPlay Policy applies to our unlimited home broadband offer.

No excess data charges in Australia:

When you exceed your allowance, you can continue to access data, but your speed will be capped at 1.5Mbps. This isn’t suitable for HD video or high-speed applications, and some web pages, social media content and files may take longer to load. Your speed will depend on a range of factors including your device, location, user numbers and download sources, and may be slowed further during busy periods. Heavy data users (users in the top 1% of all data users) may experience slower speeds than other users during busy periods. For personal use on a tablet or mobile broadband device in Australia only and the FairPlay Policy applies.