Telstra network upgrade, Flinders Island
Network | Regional |

Building a network for the future for Flinders and Cape Barren Islands

By Michael Patterson September 25, 2020

Flinders and Cape Barren Islands have received an $11 million dollar network upgrade, with our funding joined by local, state and Federal Government investment to provide the region with improved communications and mobile network connectivity. This puts Flinders on the map and ensures its connected future, giving it the foundations for a thriving economic and tourism industry.

Flinders Island, one of 52 islands in the Furneaux Group dotted across the Bass Strait north east of Tasmania, has had an $11 million telecommunications upgrade, funded as part of the Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) giving locals and visitors the chance to experience better connectivity than ever before.

One of the key parts of this project is a new radio tower – 100 kilometres north-east of Launceston at Waterhouse – which creates the longest radio link across water anywhere on our network, connecting Flinders and Cape Barren Islands with Tasmania and the rest of the world.

At 80m tall, the new radio tower is Tassie’s third largest structure and required over 39 tonnes of steel, 3,000 bolts and a 300-tonne crane to build.

Not to be overshadowed by the epic new tower, we’ve also installed about 83km of new optical fibre to link major population centres on Flinders Island, along with two new-generation microwave radio systems.

We’ve also upgraded our mobile base station sites at Mt Tanner, Middle Patriarch, Hayes Hill and Vinegar Hill, jumping from 3G to superfast 4GX. And there are four new speedy mobile base stations at Killecrankie, Palana, Blue Rocks and Cape Barren Island to extend the reach of our leading network to more people.

With the final part of the project being completed in April 2020, we now cover 98.7 per cent of Tasmania’s population using more than 300 mobile sites across our southernmost state.

This project has boosted the connectivity for the locals on the island and provided much improved mobile and internet services, which are vital to a region that thrives on tourism. The upgrades lay the groundwork for the network into the future, including scalable solutions for the local school, hospital and emergency services. Flinders Island is now ready to embrace a digital future.

There’s no two ways about it: Telstra is Australia’s go-to regional network. We have a proud history of supporting regional and rural customers. This upgrade links Flinders Island to Australia and the world, bringing new opportunities to live, work and play for the island’s residents and visitors alike.

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.

Telstra News |

Supporting our customers during COVID-19

By Andrew Penn April 14, 2020

As people around Australia increasingly begin working and studying from home or self-isolating as part of the national response to COVID-19, demand for connectivity is rising rapidly. To play our part, Telstra is giving our consumer and small business customers additional data as well as offering unlimited home phone calls to pensioners. We want to help our customers, who find themselves having to work from home, stay connected.

Update: We understand that the situation around COVID-19 is ongoing. As a result, we will be extending many of our consumer offers through to 30 June 2020. Please read below for additional details and eligibility criteria.

From Thursday 19 March we are providing our consumer and small business home broadband customers (ADSL, NBN and Cable) with unlimited data at no additional charge on their plan until 30 June 2020. The data, which will be provided automatically, will help facilitate videoconferencing; voice over Wi-Fi, and cloud connectivity, all important tools when working from home or in isolation.

We are also giving our consumer and small business mobile customers more data. Post-paid customers (both handheld and mobile broadband) can receive an extra 25GB of data on their plan to use in Australia within 30 days to facilitate the need for a more mobile workforce. Post-paid customers can apply for the extra data via our Telstra 24×7 and My Telstra Apps until 30 June 2020 and the data will be available within 24-48 hours.

We are also keeping those experiencing hardship connected. We are offering JobSeeker discounts to eligible customers, and those with a valid eligible Health Care Card or Pensioner Concession Card can take advantage of a new $30/month Value Mobile Offer. You can find more details on these offers on Telstra Exchange.

Eligible pensioners with a Telstra home phone plan will also be able to make unlimited local, national and 13/1300 calls, and calls to Australian mobiles, from their home phone in Australia to make staying in touch with friends and family simpler. This is available from Thursday until the 30 June 2020.

We also have offers available to small business customers, including the ability to hibernate your business.

With data traffic increasing, we are encouraging customers to make use of the self-service tools available on the latest Telstra 24×7 apps for iOS and Android. This allow customers to check account information and pay bills while easing the burden on our call centres.

We are also making it easy for our customers to access more self-serve billing options to cater for the scenario they may have found themselves in via our new online self-service hub.

Via the online hub, Telstra customers can access options including:

  • Entering into a payment plan with Telstra.
  • Entering into an agreement to pay at a later agreed date.
  • Suspending any or all services for up to 90 days, and reconnecting free of charge at the end of that period or beforehand if they’re ready to do so.
  • Downsizing their plan if they can no longer afford the plan they are on.

COVID-19 is a global challenge, we are all affected, and we all need to play our part in the response.

From Telstra’s perspective, an important part of that is ensuring everyone has the tools they need to stay in touch and keep business flowing during this challenging time.

Things you need to know

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

Pre-Paid Max/Extra/Plus/Freedom Anytime/Freedom Unlimited customers: Unused bonus data expires after 28 days and will not rollover.

NETGEAR Nighthawk M2 mobile router
Tech and Innovation |

Introducing the NETGEAR Nighthawk M2 mobile router

By Campbell Simpson February 26, 2019

Two years after we launched the world’s fastest mobile hotspot, the gigabit-capable NETGEAR Nighthawk M1, and then doubled those download speeds in network testing in 2018, we’re back with an upgrade: the NETGEAR Nighthawk M2 mobile router.

On the NETGEAR Nighthawk M2, you can experience typical download speeds of 5-500Mbps and typical upload speeds of 1-40Mbps in 4GX coverage areas – the upper end of this typical speed range will be more commonly experienced in and around the CBDs of the major cities. Outside 4GX coverage areas, typical speeds will be lower.

Following in the footsteps of the hugely successful first Nighthawk mobile router, the Nighthawk M2 carries over the premium design and colourful, data-rich touchscreen and improves your on-the-go Wi-Fi experience by making it easier to navigate through menus on the device.

The Nighthawk M2 supports up to 20 Wi-Fi devices on a single connection, so whether you’re travelling with family or running a data-hungry portable business you’ll be able to securely connect all your devices and share in fast mobile internet. A complementary NETGEAR Mobile App lets you configure the device without taking it out of your backpack or briefcase.

 NETGEAR Nighthawk M2 mobile router

It’s packed with the latest 4G technology, too – with Category 20 LTE Advanced speeds, 4X4 MIMO and 5-band Carrier Aggregation it can handle high definition media streaming, and you can even charge a smartphone in a pinch using the JumpBoost battery charging feature.

Our rollout of over 200 5G base stations across our network – with more to come in 2019 and beyond – also means improvements to 4G network hardware. This series of network upgrades is not only making Telstra’s mobile network 5G ready but is also expected to help deliver world leading 4G speeds that can be accessed on the Nighthawk M2.

 NETGEAR Nighthawk M2 mobile router

We’ll be making the NETGEAR Nighthawk M2 available in store and online from February 26 at a recommended retail price of $384 or on a range of our Mobile Broadband plans.

*Disclaimer: actual customer speeds will be less

5G | Network | T22 | Tech and Innovation |

We’re working with CBA and Ericsson to bring 5G to banking

By Channa Seneviratne February 25, 2019

In an industry first, we’re collaborating with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Ericsson to explore and trial 5G ‘edge computing’ technology for financial services – giving you a glimpse of the bank of the future.

Our collaboration with the Commonwealth Bank and Ericsson is the first of its kind in Australia to bring technology providers and the financial services sector together in exploring 5G edge computing use cases and network architectures. We intend to test end-to-end banking solutions over 5G – showcasing what the bank of the future might look like, and exploring how 5G edge compute can reduce the network infrastructure required at individual bank branches.

What does 5G edge compute technology enable?

5G edge compute will allow us to discover more ways to access and interact with financial institutions in ways we haven’t even explored yet. For example, your face and fingerprints could be used in the future to verify and confirm your identity faster and more securely. You might be able to walk into a bank, scan your face/finger and immediately withdraw or deposit your money and walk straight out – providing a faster and more secure way to access your money.

Further to this, the potential of 5G edge compute might mean something as simple as faster transactions when paying for your groceries at a wireless payment terminal, or a more secure, personalised experience when using an ATM by not having to use your PIN number.

That’s what the technology behind 5G edge compute makes possible, and we’re working with Commonwealth Bank and Ericsson to see what’s possible in the banking sector. It has the potential to transform banking, and to deliver innovation to the financial services sector in a faster and more efficient manner.

Commonwealth Bank, Ericsson and Telstra

5G edge computing is all about bringing the network closer to the user or application. For financial institutions like Commonwealth Bank, it will help to enhance existing banking applications as well as deliver new use cases such as artificial intelligence, all supported by a range of software defined networking solutions.

Our earliest work with Commonwealth Bank and Ericsson will examine the process of simplifying the network operations and complexity required at individual bank branches, and will explore optimal 5G coverage solutions and provide more flexibility for bank locations.

These trials will provide valuable lessons and insights for us, too, as we continue to deploy 5G and explore further options with a range of partners and assess the potential for edge computing in telecommunications across many industry verticals.