Regional |

How to stay connected with antennas and repeaters

By Luke Hopewell April 30, 2020

With many of us now working and learning from home we’re all relying on mobile connectivity more than ever. That means staying online is crucial, especially in regional and rural areas. That’s why we have a range of gear to keep you online when your signal is spotty. Here’s how to get the most out of everything from external antennas to repeaters when in regional and rural Australia.

‏‏‎ ‎

What influences your network coverage?

Like any mobile network, coverage on ours depends on a number of factors, including (but not limited to) your device, and whether an external antenna can be attached.

Where you’ll be using your device – whether it’s in a regional, rural or metropolitan area, indoors or out or even out-to-sea – also plays a role.

Finally, obstructions – such as buildings, trees, vehicles, hills and even building materials – can all reduce signal strength between your device and the cell tower.

Check out our coverage maps on Telstra.com and figure out where you can get the best coverage.

Ensuring the best signal strength in rural areas comes down to how you want to use the device out in the bush.

Getting mobile data coverage

Using a mobile data device – such as a smartphone or mobile broadband modem – is a great way to stay connected on the move.

Data rates are often improved by getting greater signal strength and quality to the device. This is achieved via the use of external antennas.

Using a patch cord, you can connect your device to either a medium-gain panel antenna where handheld coverage is available near the installation location, or a high-gain Yagi antenna where handheld coverage is not available near installation location to improve your service.

A panel antenna is most common, and can assist with mobile coverage inside buildings, especially when you’re on the edge of a coverage area. A 2.4-metre yagi antenna, meanwhile, is designed more for outdoor or mobile use.

If installing a yagi antenna, you should ensure it is pointed at the nearest cell tower. For best results, ensure the elements are facing vertically when installing, and the drain hole in the main element is facing downwards.

Also ensure your antenna is securely mounted with the support of a bracket, and installed in a way that it won’t be taken down by the elements.

Getting mobile data and voice coverage

Making sure you can do voice and data in the bush requires a little more than just an antenna and patch cord, however. If you’re within range of your Fixed Broadband Wi-Fi connection and have a compatible Telstra mobile, you can use Telstra Wi-Fi Calling. With Wi-Fi Calling, Your mobile simply uses your W-Fi network instead of the mobile network. So you can make and receive calls as you normally would.

Another way to get it is via a network coverage extension device like a repeater or booster.

Repeaters and boosters amplify signal like a PA system. For the booster to work correctly the antenna picking up mobile signal (your “microphone”, if you will) must be isolated from the antenna giving mobile signal (or “speaker” in this metaphor). If these are not correctly isolated feedback will occur. Approved boosters when correctly configured can detect this feedback and adjust the signal volume to stop feedback from interfering with the overall signal.

It’s important to note that unapproved boosters do not have this volume control. They transmit at full volume drowning out other people who are trying to use the same mobile tower and disrupting overall coverage in the area. It is illegal to own or operate one of these devices on any network in Australia, and they can disrupt or even prevent others from making calls to emergency 000.

There are a range of boosters and repeaters you can use to improve your voice and data coverage in remote areas, including:

  • Telstra Mobile Smart Antenna (TMSA):
    • Can boost both 3G and 4G at the same time
    • Consists of two units and can be used with or without external antenna depending on available coverage
    • Designed for in home use and requires 240V power point
  • Telstra Go booster:
    • Two types of Telstra Go. There is a mobile unit for a vehicle or a stationary unit for a home/business.
    • Only Boosts 3G or 4G at one time, selectable via button on device.
    • Correct installation required
    • Requires separate High Gain Vehicle mount antenna for optimum performance
    • There is an app for both Apple or Android devices that enables checking the performance of the device. The app is called Wave by Nextivity and can be found on the Play Store or App Store.

‏‏‎ ‎

Blue Tick-certified

We’ve got all the latest and greatest smartphones on our network, and we make sure they’re rigorously tested before we stock them. The devices that perform the best in tough coverage areas are awarded our highest honour: the Blue Tick.

Our coveted Blue Tick signifies that a mobile device has been thoroughly tested and delivers superior voice coverage in rural and regional areas. 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.

Read more about what goes into making a phone Blue Tick-certified.

Things you need to know
Depending on device capability and available coverage, network coverage extension devices can improve 3G and 4G coverage on the Telstra Mobile Network. Not all network coverage extension devices allow direct connection to the handset or broadband device. External antenna accessories are only available for selected handset and broadband models. Please refer to the device manufacturer for specifications or contact a Telstra Store for more assistance.
Telstra News |

After a devastating fire season, we’ve made good progress keeping communities connected

By Campbell Simpson February 28, 2020

It has been nearly five months since intense bushfires started burning across Australia, but barely a few weeks have passed since the majority were brought under control.

It is incredible to think back and remember that our country’s most recent bushfire season started in September of last year, and to realise that a reprieve only came recently with a week of strong rains across the eastern states in mid-February.

At the height of the bushfires, we had around 60 mobile sites impacted across key fire grounds in NSW and Victoria. The majority of those impacts were power related, but at least five were damaged by fire and needed extensive repair work.

It has been a mammoth effort from our people that has helped keep communities connected however possible. From day one, our emergency teams and field technicians on the ground were responding to impacted sites – delivering backup generators and batteries, installing temporary mobile cells on wheels, and making repairs to infrastructure wherever possible.

In just a week after the initial fire, we managed to bring the number of impacted sites from 60 down to 15, but difficult conditions over several weeks meant that restoration has been a complex process. Some of our infrastructure – like at Jingellic on the banks of the Murray River bordering NSW and Victoria – were repaired and service restored soon after fires swept through, but then knocked out again days later by returning blazes.

More work to do to restore service to affected areas

We’re now well underway in restoring service to all areas that have been impacted by bushfires and other strong weather over the past few months.

There is still more for us to do to bring back mobile connectivity and fixed line services to some regional and remote areas, especially in areas where our infrastructure is isolated – like towers on hilltops only accessible by fire trails. Access to affected areas often requires coordinating with Rural Fire Service or emergency services in that area, and we follow strict protocols to ensure that our recovery crews operate safely.

We are aware there are some locations and customers still experiencing network disruptions and we are working as quickly as possible to rectify this.  As a result of this our customer assistance packages and free calls and WiFi from payphones will remain open in the following postcode areas:

Suburb Post code 
Balmoral 2571
Batemans Bay 2536
Bega 2550
Buchan, Bruthen, Gelantipy 3885
Cobargo 2550
Conjola 2539
Cooroibah 4565
Corryong 3707
Cudgewa 3705
Genoa 3891
Glen Innes 2370
Kangaroo Island 5220, 5221, 5222, 5223
Kempsey 2440
Mallacoota 3892
Merimbula 2548
Mogo 2536
Nicholson 3882
Quaama 2550
Sarsfield 3875
Tuggeranong 2901
Yeppoon 4703

You can always find up-to-date information on our Outages page. If you are in an area where service has been restored, but are still having difficulty getting connected, please contact us on 132 203 to report a fault.

Winding back payphones and assistance packages

As we come to the end of the active fire season, we are winding down the emergency management groups activated within our business and returning to business as normal. From March 1 we will revert our payphone network and Telstra Air to normal operation and charging with the exception of customers located in the postcode areas above.

We are also closing registrations for our disaster assistance packages for fire-affected areas in NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria from March 1, with the exception of those customers located in the postcode areas above, and registration free mobile bills for firefighters for the months of December and January will cease.

We’re proud to have helped thousands access disaster relief

Over a thousand customers across NSW, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia have registered for our short- and long-term disaster assistance packages that provide relief measures including up to $500 credit on fixed and mobile phone accounts.

Our contact centre teams have fielded nearly 55,000 calls from customers making enquiries and seeking support after fires, and we’ve had contact from over 10,000 firefighters, volunteer firefighters and SES volunteers to cover their mobile phone bills for the months of December and January.

On the 832 payphones in areas that were directly affected by bushfires, more than 2,546,000 free calls were made from since we switched off charging from06 January, totaling 102,209 hours of talk time and around 121,600 SMS were sent.

When we made calls on payphones free, we also opened access to our Telstra Air Wi-Fi. Telstra Air is Australia’s largest Wi-Fi network, broadcasting across over a million hotspots around the country including our pink payphone booths – and we saw a similarly massive uptake from Australians in need.

We’re proud to say that a total of 82.87 terabytes of free data were transferred across Telstra Air from January 6 to now – that’s about 110,000 streaming movies or 230,000 TV show episodes. Over 480,000 people accessed our free Wi-Fi networks during this time; when a couple of minutes on Wi-Fi is a crucial link to the world for messages to family, calls to insurance and emails to loved ones on the other side of the planet, we’re pleased our payphones played their part in keeping communities connected.

We estimate that our contribution to supporting firefighters and communities through assistance packages and donations will be in the order of $10 million, and the total impact on our business to be around $50 million.

From the bottom of our hearts, we want to say a sincere thank you to Australia’s professional and volunteer firefighters and emergency services crews, to the SES, to our government and ADF partners and personnel, for their tireless work in protecting our country’s towns and cities, rural properties and villages from fire – and the critical Telstra infrastructure that keeps those people and places connected.

To all our people – who we have heard countless stories about from community members, who were on the ground offering assistance from a simple phone recharge and a kind word to the most physically strenuous restoration and recovery effort – we are truly grateful.

Regional | Telstra News |

Our assistance package for drought affected Australian customers

By Tim O'Leary August 2, 2018

With parts of Australia impacted by significant drought, including 50 per cent of Queensland and NSW, we are making our natural disaster support arrangements available to all Telstra customers affected by drought across the country.

These support arrangements include working with customers in financial hardship to offer longer-term payment options or extensions, reviewing and removing any administrative fees (e.g. for late payment), and reviewing a customer’s mobile, fixed line and broadband plans to make sure they are affordable.

Affected residential customers are encouraged to contact us at any time on 13 22 00 and say ‘financial hardship’ (Monday to Friday, 8.00 am – 5.00 pm AEST) to discuss their situation. Small Business customers should contact us on 13 20 00 and Premier Business/Telstra Enterprise customers on 13 22 53.

Learn more online.

Telstra International expansion
Business and Enterprise | Network |

Expanding our network presence in the US

By Jim Clarke February 23, 2018

Global connectivity is critical for businesses that are stepping into new markets, operating globally or scaling up quickly to take up new opportunities.

Asia is now home to around half the world’s internet users and is the largest economic region in the world. That’s why we’ve built our heritage, culture and infrastructure in this region to enable thousands of businesses to connect millions of consumers across this global market.

But it goes beyond Asia. The United States has been long recognised as an important business partner for Australia, and provides a compelling opportunity for Australian businesses seeking expansion.

Findings from the Connecting Commerce whitepaper, which we commissioned from the Economist Intelligence Unit, identified that San Francisco, New York and Chicago were amongst the top 20 cities in the Digital Cities Barometer.

San Francisco recorded the second highest barometer reading overall of the 45 cities. Unsurprisingly New York, which ranked 11th overall, rated fifth for its financial environment and sixth for innovation and entrepreneurship.

With continued investment to maintain our network leadership in Asia – with a global subsea cable system spanning over 400,000 kilometres – we are also building on our well-established presence in the US.

This month, we announced the expansion of our network to four new locations – Atlanta, Dallas, Denver and Seattle, with infrastructure to enable expanding Australian, Asian and other international businesses to have seamless network access deep into the United States.

We’ve been operating in the United States for over 20 years already, with businesses including Telstra Ventures – which is Australia’s number one leading corporate innovator, with over $375 million invested in more than 50 technology companies since 2011.

We also work in partnership with world-leading technology companies throughout the US like Microsoft, Cisco, Google and Amazon for everything from subsea cables to cloud collaboration platforms.

It’s an exciting time to be a global business. Our heritage as a leading telecommunications company with $28.2 billion revenue and 30 years of experience connecting US customers to Asia gives our business customers the confidence to reach these new exciting markets.

With offices in New York, San Francisco and Washington DC, operating eight landing stations covering the East and West coasts, we’re excited to enable more of our customers to focus on their core business by relying on our diverse network.

Make your friends jealous
Devices | Entertainment | Network | Regional |

6 reasons you need your phone on holiday, and one reason you don’t

By Tara Glanville-Yates November 29, 2017

These days it’s not uncommon for people to take their mobile with them when they head off on holiday. In fact, 83% of us won’t head off on holiday without it. So what do you do when you’ve got oodles of spare time and the internet at your fingertips?

  1. Show off your photography skills

Take the perfect photo, looking out over the ocean towards a brilliant red sunset with birds dotted across the horizon, and share it across your channels. Bonus points if you get some boats in there as well.

Show off your photography skills

  1. Take a break from your partner

Let’s face it, when you go away with your significant other, you’re going to be spending a lot of time together. Sometimes that’s great. Sometimes you need a break. There’s heaps of apps to keep you entertained – check out imgur, NRL/AFL and of course Netflix.

Take a break from your partner

  1. Make your friends jealous

Did you know 56 per cent of us suffer from holiday FOMO? What better opportunity is there to flaunt your wealth and health than sharing a photo of yourself paddle-boarding at one of Australia’s glorious beaches?

Make your friends jealous

  1. Stay in touch

It’s always good to let friends and family know that you’ve arrived safe and well, but what about your fur-children? They love a facetime as much as your parents. Try it.

Stay in touch

  1. Find out where to go

Let’s face it, we’re a nation of travellers. It’s almost certain that no matter where you are, someone you know will have already been there. So, if you find yourself at a loose end, put the call out to your networks and find those hidden gems.

Find out where to go

  1. Kill time

We may have a reputation for long, sun-filled days but we all know that’s not always the case. Sometimes, the rain comes and you’re stuck inside. If board games are boring you, pull out the smart phone and engage in a friendly/competitive round of trivia.

Kill time

  1. Keep an eye on work

It’s so easy to pop online to check your emails and answer a few questions – we all like to feel that the office falls over when we’re not around. It’s time to let go of those trust issues and put your faith in your delegate. If this is you, leave the phone at home – you can’t be trusted.

Keep an eye on work

How are we keeping you connected?

Every year this growing reliance on devices leads to more and more demand for mobile services on beaches, national parks and camping spots around the country. We know how important it is for people to stay connected so this year we’ve given 125 popular holiday locations around Australia upgraded services or new coverage.

Over 30 holiday hotspots have had investment to improve 3G and 4G capacity, from Torquay in Victoria to Busselton in Western Australia to Hamilton Island in Queensland.

We’ve created 130,000 square kilometres of new mobile coverage as part of the Federal Government Mobile Black Spot Program, including new or improved coverage in more than 15 holiday destinations.

We’ve also upgraded more than 1,400 destinations across Australia to 4GX in 2017, including more than 82 in holiday hotspots

Here are some of the locations to receive upgrades in 2017

NSW VIC QLD WA SA TAS
Capacity Batemans Bay, Byron Bay, Kiama, Merrimbula, Yamba Loch Sport, Inverloch, Venus Bay, Wilsons Prom, Portsea, Safety Beach, Sorrento, Queensclif, Ocean Grove, Torquay Mooloolaba, Cannonvale, Hamilton Island, Twin Waters Mandurah, Busselton, Dusnborough Blanchetown, Carrickalinga, Hahndorf, Moonta Bay, Pt Neill, South of Mannum, Yankalilla St Helens
Mobile Black Spot Program Towamba Buchan South Burnett Heads, Boreen point, Mount Alford, Bowenville, Dingo, Forrest Beach, Mount Fox Windy Harvour, Kalbarri Loop, Rosa Glen, Yallingup East Sisters Beach, Targa
4GX Coffs Harbour, Jervis Bay, Iluka, Gerroa, Gerrigong, Pambula, Kiama, Moruya, Sussex Inlet Sassafras, Mornington, Mount Martha, Point Wilson, Newhaven, St Andrew’s Beach, Tootgarook, Bass, Coronet Bay, Cap Schanck, Lakes Entrance, Mt Eliza, Hastings Green Island, Trinity Beach, Victoria Point, Airlie Beach, Mandalay, Peregian Beach, Eumundi, Marcus Beach, Point Lookout, Cooya Beach, Mossman, Mossman Gorge, Palm Cove, Port Douglas, Rocky Point, Eagle Heights, Miami, Upper Caboolture Margaret River, Safety Bay, Australind, Cottesloe, Scarborough, North Yunderup, South Yunderup, Rockingham, Shoalwater, Halls Head, Leschenault, Naturaliste, Dawesville, Falcon North Brighton, Maslin Beach, Pewsey Vale, Port Noarlunga, Seppeltsfield, Seacliff, West Beach, Cape Jervis, Port Elliot, Seaford, Wirrina Cove, Wynn Vale, Oakbank