5G | Network |

5G’s killer app? It’s bigger than that

By Andrew Penn April 5, 2019

I just spent a week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where virtually all of the conversation was focussed on 5G. 100,000 delegates had come from 200 countries and much of the talk around the corridors was on what 5G’s ‘killer app’ might be once it begins to reach the mainstream later this year.

It is a reasonable question, but one that I think misses the point because 5G will not have a single ‘killer app’ – it is much bigger than that. Just how much bigger we will start to learn when we put the technology into the hands of customers because that is when the 5G innovation floodgates will open.

The naming convention with 5G might be familiar but the experience (and the implications) will be anything but because 5G’s next-level speed, capacity, reliability and latency will change everything. To get your head around why 5G is so different it is useful to have a sense for how networks have evolved over the last few decades.

The first-generation – 1G – in the ’80s was basic voice on an analogue network. It was not always reliable and the 10Kbps transfer speeds were pretty sedate by today’s standards, but that did not stop it from taking off. 2G came next where talk was combined with text messaging. 3G linked wireless connectivity with digital networks and suddenly the then-miracle of being able to access the internet on your mobile phone became possible. 4G then took it a step further with higher speeds, lower latency and the ability to watch video on the go.

When you look at that journey from 1G to 4G you quickly realise the main game was about speed. Of course, 5G delivers powerful speed (potentially 10 times more than 4G) but 5G is so much more than just faster speeds. 5G’s incredible advances in capacity (important, because current networks will not be able to keep up as the demand for connectivity goes through the roof), reliability and latency are revolutionary on their own – but when you combine them with advances in a host of other new technologies (the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, virtual and augment reality, robotics, cloud, edge computing and software-defined networks) you quickly realise this is a paradigm shift and much, much more than a faster smartphone.

As I saw at MWC, so much work is underway right now to bring a 5G future to life:

  • Work to create a connected, seamless experience across multiple device types and settings, from the home to the roads to the workplace to world of entertainment and learning.
  • Work to build transport and supply chain systems that are managed and synchronised to the real time movement of vehicles and passengers.
  • Work to use sensors to gather geographically-precise data in real time to better monitor livestock and crops based on exact and local weather patterns, soil moisture and nutrients.
  • Work to build fleets of drones that could be used for deliveries, searches, rescues or to provide high-quality live video for news or surveillance.
  • Work to use virtual or augmented reality to create a next-generation, live-time experience for sports fans or to bring remote telemedicine to life. In this I admit there were times at MWC when it seemed I was the only one not wearing a VR headset!
  • Work to automate manufacturing and supply chain management and use AI to collect and process data and robotics to perform repetitive tasks and drive new efficiencies and productivity.

What is just as relevant in any conversation about 5G though is that there are many uses we have not yet imagined. That is actually one of the most exciting parts, because if one thing has characterised the convergence between technology and telecommunications, it is that time and again we have been surprised by the innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurialism that it stimulates.

There is no doubt 5G – closely coupled with the other technologies reaching maturity at the same time – will take that to a new level, and that is why I cannot wait to get more 5G devices into customers hands.

Through all of this, networks remain absolutely central and it was great to visit MWC knowing Telstra is 5G-ready and in many ways leading the world. We already have more than 200 5G towers operational across Australia. We have also developed deep domain expertise and first mover advantage.

As a network operator, what is exciting for us in planning and building a 5G-enabled network is that we know the future will be super-connected, super-intelligent and super disruptive to every business model. As a retail provider, our job is to stay at the cutting edge of that so that our customers can too.

Perhaps my biggest takeaway from MWC was that we are nowhere near knowing all the possibilities 5G will create but we do know they are coming. How? Because we saw it with every previous generation of wireless network. It is easy to argue 2G’s ‘killer app’ was text messaging, 3G’s internet connectivity, and on 4G the most important use case was probably video, which went from nothing on earlier generations of wireless networks to making up the majority of traffic on 4G.

Nobody knows for sure how this will play out with 5G, but we do know that sooner or later (and in many different ways), innovators and entrepreneurs will find a way to tie together extremely high speeds, high bandwidth, ultra-low latency, and leverage that into unanticipated new applications, services and capabilities.

Unlike the Gs 1-4, 5G will not have a single ‘killer app’ – it is too big, and too transformative for that – but it will completely transform the role of technology and telecommunications in the world, and unleash a new wave of innovation once we have put it into the hands of customers – that truly does fire the imagination.

Best of Barcelona: trending tech seen at Mobile World Congress 2019
5G | Devices | Tech and Innovation |

Best of Barcelona: trending tech seen at Mobile World Congress 2019

By Campbell Simpson March 4, 2019

It’s been a huge week of news and announcements from Barcelona as Mobile World Congress 2019 got underway – with a swathe of new 5G smartphones and devices, innovative developments in the Internet of Things, and more happening in VR and autonomous vehicles than ever before.

What new phones did we see at MWC?

Arguably the biggest announcement of MWC 2019 happened just before the show kicked off, with Samsung unveiling its feature-packed Galaxy S10 range of smartphones. Samsung also teased its upcoming Galaxy S10 5G, which we’ll be offering to our customers when it launches in Australia later this year.

LG took the covers off its upcoming V50 ThinQ 5G smartphone, and Oppo told the world that it, too, would be launching a 5G smartphone later this year. We announced partnership agreements with both of these companies – part of our commitment to lead on 5G. We’re also bringing out the HTC 5G Hub as our first 5G mobile broadband device, and we’re very excited for what it will bring.

MWC is always busy, and this year was no different – there were dozens of announcement and launches of new flagship smartphones like the super-luxe Samsung Galaxy Fold. On the other hand, we also saw a phone designed to keep you off the internet, away from notifications and distractions during your day-to-day life – so there was something for everyone.

More than that, we’re seeing more laptops and tablets connecting directly to our mobile networks, and we’ve just partnered with Microsoft to make that process even easier. From this week, you’ll be able to connect your Windows 10 PC with eSIM directly to our mobile network through the Mobile Plans app in Windows – no SIM card required.

What else was big at MWC this year?

5G was the big buzz-word of MWC 2019 – and rightly so, for the potential it has to transform the way we live and do business. We’re working with the Commonwealth Bank and Ericsson to trial the future of banking, using 5G and edge computing technologies together to build a high-tech banking experience that works faster and more effectively for you.

Folding phones and screens were all anyone was talking about outside of 5G, and Samsung and Huawei made waves with the Galaxy Fold and Mate X. We’re still in early days and these examples show what we might be seeing when folding phones hit the market – slim portable gadgets that fold out into larger tablets for productivity. The Nubia Alpha used a flexible display for a wrap-around wrist-phone, showing the potential of this new wave of folding screens.

New developments in the Internet of Things are always exciting for the improvements they can make in the backgrounds of our lives. We announced a new trial in Western Australia that could save water and money for both business and consumers, and we’re switching on a new IoT capability that lets global businesses access their IoT sensors and devices anywhere in the world.

Microsoft’s Hololens 2 was the clear stand-out in the VR/AR arena at MWC, but there’s even more high-tech potential for coming from 5G powering augmented and virtual reality headsets using Qualcomm’s latest smartphone chips. 5G is going to let you cut the cord with virtual reality, so get ready for some exciting new VR developments you might use on your commute or in the office.

Smart mobility is the next big frontier for the automotive industry, and we saw some exciting concepts from companies like BMW at MWC this year. BMW’s Natural Interaction prototype uses gesture control, voice recognition and gaze tracking to understand what you want to do in your car without pressing a button. Smart, wireless sensing of pedestrians and nearby vehicles is also maturing; we’re running our own trials in Victoria with Lexus of a full suite of 4G- and 5G-connected Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) technology.

Connecting your Windows 10 PC with eSIM
Devices | Tech and Innovation |

Connecting your Windows 10 PC with eSIM

By Kevin Teoh February 27, 2019

We’re partnering with Microsoft to enable embedded SIM support in compatible Windows 10 Modern PCs. From March 7, we will be the first Australian telco to make it possible for you to connect a Windows 10 device with eSIM to our mobile network, without a SIM card or additional hardware.

In line with our drive towards simpler customer experiences, we’re offering customers a new way to connect to Australia’s fastest mobile network*. Switching on our support for eSIM in the Mobile Plans application in Windows 10 makes it possible to connect your compatible Windows PC to the internet – without having to go to a store or collect a SIM.

It’s a great solution for anyone on the go who requires connectivity, or for business users who require greater security than is afforded by public Wi-Fi.

Connecting your Windows 10 PC with eSIM

From March 7 to December 31, for anyone that wants to try out the new technology for themselves, we’re offering customers who have a compatible Microsoft eSIM-enabled device a 30-day trial that includes 30GB of free data to use in Australia. Once the trial period or data has expired, customers will be able to choose a variety of prepaid or post-paid offers from our range of plans.

As soon as the service is enabled, customers with eSIM-enabled Modern PCs running the latest version of Windows 10 will be able to activate a Telstra mobile broadband plan and connect in a matter of moments, with activation of the trial offer typically only taking a few minutes.

eSIM technology is currently already available on some Windows 10 devices including the Microsoft Surface Pro 4G LTE and premium HP Spectre range – the HP Spectre Folio 4G LTE and the HP Spectre x360 4G LTE – and will become more prevalent with a number of new Windows based devices already slated for launch through 2019.

Our close collaboration with Microsoft will allow us to leverage eSIM technology and provide a new, connected experience for our customers using compatible Windows devices like modern laptops and tablets – that means getting connected will be easier than ever before.

*Speeds are based on national average mobile speeds

Conserving water with IoT: our partnership with Busselton Water and Software AG
Business and Enterprise | IoT | Tech and Innovation |

Conserving water with IoT: our partnership with Busselton Water and Software AG

By Gerhard Loots February 26, 2019

We’re trialing an innovative water management solution in collaboration with Software AG and Western Australia’s Busselton Water, using Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and an analytics solution to monitor and manage water across the Busselton area of WA, saving water while simultaneously lowering operating costs.

Water is a scarce resource, and conserving it wherever possible is a constant process of research and development. New and innovative solutions like IoT, using our 3.5 million square kilometres of NB-IoT network coverage, makes intelligent sensing possible, with benefits for individual customers and water utilities – like detecting pressure drops from blockages or leaks in water infrastructure and more detailed usage and consumption information.

Our partnership with Software AG, starting with a proof-of-concept trial with Busselton Water in Western Australia, will use our IoT platform and Software AG’s Cumulocity IoT Solution Accelerator for Water Management to provide utilities companies a quick way to gain insights from meter data and help minimise the cost of water supply. Given that Busselton Water is already using radio frequency monitoring for its over 26,000 customers in the region, they are well placed to test this innovative water management system.

The solution collects available sensor data like pressure, consumption, and alerts such as pressure drops from a new generation of digital water meters managed via Telstra’s IoT platform and the Cumulocity IoT Accelerator running in the cloud. The solution offers off-the-shelf tools for monitoring and managing all this data, and dashboards provide users with near real-time full state-of-play at any given time.

Utilities can add customizable tools and water utility specific dashboards to monitor other data metrics such as aggregated consumption over time, min/max/average flow and trend analysis, as well as peak and non-peak consumption. We will offer the solution to water utilities around Australia either as a standalone product or as part of our IoT for Intelligent Utilities package.

We are very excited to use our deep expertise and relationships in the water industry and technology partnerships to build a solution that meets the specific requirements of water utilities. By adding insight to the data our utilities collect, our solutions will help save water and improve services for customers.

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.