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

Network

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.

1993:

  • 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

Today:

  • 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

The trouble with illegal mobile repeaters

Regional

Posted on April 13, 2018

3 min read

Dropped calls, slow data speeds and poor reception can be symptoms of interference on the network. Although customers are quick to point the finger at their network providers, we are increasingly finding that illegally supplied mobile repeater devices are often the culprit.

Every month we find illegal repeaters causing a disruption to mobile coverage for around 20 different communities across the country.

Mobile repeaters are intended to improve mobile coverage in places where the mobile signal is weak. The devices work by wirelessly replicating or ‘repeating’ a mobile signal from a location where signal is usable, to boost reception into another area where coverage is lacking.

The problem with illegal repeater devices, and the reason using them is against the law, is that without the necessary authorisation for use – and, more importantly, the technical specifications and internal protections of Telstra approved devices – they can and do cause major interference on the network.

They do this by generating an excessive level of “noise” that can degrade network performance for other users, and effectively drown out other communications, including on the portion of our network used by emergency services. Unauthorised repeaters are also more prone to failure, which can have unintended consequences and cause further interference.

While reception may improve in the immediate vicinity of an illegal repeater, the coverage for people located elsewhere in the coverage area – particularly for those using devices on the edge of the coverage area – is often degraded or even lost completely.

The result of the increase of illegal repeaters is thousands of Australians with poor or intermittent reception, slow data speeds, and no way to run their business or connect with loved ones. And imagine what it could mean in an emergency.

Interference caused by illegal mobile repeaters becomes life-threatening when it prevents people from calling Triple Zero in an emergency.  For these reasons we, alongside the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and state and territory government agencies, are working hard to reduce the instances of illegal mobile repeaters.

In the past 12 months, we have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars developing and distributing radio frequency detection tools, capable of approximating the location of active interferers. When we detect these devices, we take steps to have them removed, which can include reporting the illegal repeater to the ACMA for enforcement action.

To operate a mobile repeater, it must be a carrier approved device such as the Telstra Mobile Smart Antenna and customers must obtain an authorisation from their carrier for its use.

More information can be found on the ACMA website.

More information about the laws surrounding mobile repeaters can be found in ACMA’s guide for consumers.

For more information on the Telstra Mobile Smart Antenna, customers should visit their local Telstra Store or online. For more options for the Telstra Mobile Network please visit our coverage map.

Your satisfaction guaranteed on the nbn

nbn

Posted on April 11, 2018

2 min read

Our new nbn Satisfaction Guarantee is all about giving customers peace of mind when they sign up with Telstra on the nbn network.

How does the Guarantee work?

The nbn Satisfaction Guarantee is simple – If you’re not happy with your nbn service within 30 days of connecting, let us know and we’ll give you the freedom to leave without penalty as well as refunding your first monthly plan fee and any hardware repayment costs.

While we know the majority of our customers have a smooth transition to the nbn network and are happy with their service, we’re always focused on improving things to make sure our customers enjoy the best experience possible.

A number of recent improvements for our broadband customers have added to our confidence in the reliability of our nbn service.

More for your money

We’ve provided larger data allowances and a higher speed plan for existing customers at no extra cost to make sure our broadband services are keeping up with the changing way Australians are using the internet.

Late last year we gave our broadband customers a major data boost with the introduction of Unlimited data bundles.

We’re also currently in the process of upgrading the speeds of almost a million nbn customers to the Standard Plus Speed tier.

Innovative and reliable in-home Wi-Fi solutions

The type of hardware you have and where it’s placed can make a huge difference to your broadband connection.

More customers than ever will receive the Telstra Smart Modem, which includes mobile backup, to help them get connected faster and stay connected more often.

For customers with larger homes, the Telstra Smart Wi-Fi Booster will provide a strong and reliable Wi-Fi connection to more areas around the home or office that a standard modem’s Wi-Fi signal can’t reach.

Find out more about our nbn Satisfaction Guarantee.

Tags: nbn, networks, Wi-Fi,

The world’s first 5G Wi-Fi precinct on the Gold Coast

Network

Posted on March 28, 2018

3 min read

Today, we took another important step forward in our roadmap to deploy the next generation of mobile technology and offer 5G services in 2019.

We are using the connectivity inside our recently opened 5G Gold Coast Innovation Centre located at the Telstra Exchange in Southport to power a series of Wi-Fi hotspots in the area. This will be the first precinct of 5G-enabled Wi-Fi hotspots in the world, allowing Gold Coast locals and visitors to enjoy free broadband while we evaluate 5G technology.

Telstra 5G on Wi-Fi, Gold Coast Easter 2018

We’re excited to be taking 5G technology out of a lab into the hands of consumers in time for Easter, with an influx of tourists expected on the Gold Coast in the coming weeks. There are no 5G compatible commercial smartphones or tablets available today. By connecting 5G backhaul and infrastructure in the Southport Exchange to a standard Wi-Fi access point, then people can use the technology on their existing device.

Wi-Fi has limited throughput, so a single hotspot alone cannot come close to reaching the limits of 5G at our Innovation Centre, where we are achieving download speeds of more than 3Gbps. By using multiple hotspots, with potentially hundreds of smartphone users served through a single 5G device, we are able to get closer to 5G in a real world environment.

Telstra 5G Connected Car

We are also using mmWave spectrum and our 5G Gold Coast Innovation Centre to put a connected car on the road with the Intel 5G Automotive Trial Platform, one of the most advanced 5G prototype devices available in the world today. We are still in the early stages of development and are already achieving download speeds approaching 1Gbps inside the car. The vehicle is also equipped with a Wi-Fi access point.

Our 5G Connected Car shows how quickly the technology is evolving. At the start of the year our 5G prototype device was the size of a bar fridge and weighed over 200 kilograms. Now with the help of Ericsson and Intel we have one that has been shrunk down to the size of a personal computer and can be installed in a car.

If you’re in the Gold Coast in the weeks ahead, try out the 5G enabled Wi-Fi – and keep an eye out for our 5G Connected Car!

Accessing 5G enabled Wi-Fi in Southport

We have turned on several 5G Gold Coast enabled Wi-Fi hotspots in Southport. These hotspots are located on Scarborough and Nerang Streets in Southport and will be identified as “Telstra_5G_Free_Wi-Fi”.

People will need to opt-in to connect to the Wi-Fi. Access to the Wi-Fi will be free and open to anyone in the area, and with a download limit of 10 GB per day per device.

Actual speeds on any of the hotspots will be lower than the maximum, limited by the Wi-Fi throughput, and will vary depending on factors such as the type of device being used, distance from the hotspot, and the number of people connected to the hotspot at the one time.

The technology behind Perth’s newest stadium

Business and Enterprise

Posted on March 23, 2018

3 min read

Perth is now home to one of the world’s most connected stadiums, changing the way fans experience major sporting events. John Khoury, our Director of Business Services, shares how Telstra, as lead ICT sub-contractor under construction contractor, Multiplex, has been instrumental in bringing world-class technology to the West.

Have you ever been at an Eagles versus Dockers derby only to miss out on a game-changing goal because you were stuck in line on a food run for your mates? Or have you tried to livestream your reaction to a questionable umpire decision at the same time as thousands of others – and your post goes nowhere?

At Perth’s new stadium, fans will enjoy a new kind of experience thanks to its world-class technology. This technology forms the nerve centre of the stadium, and controls connectivity throughout the venue – including to one of the biggest integrated LED sports lighting systems in the world.

Live match video and broadcast programming is delivered via Telstra’s tried and tested venue-grade IPTV service across 1,000 television screens throughout the stadium – so you’ll never miss out on the action when you need to step away from your seat.

Fans will be able to access the free public Wi-Fi so they can stream content to their device and keep friends and family updated on social media. We’ve installed one of the largest networks of Wi-Fi access points in any Australian stadium so anyone attending a match or concert will be able to connect once they’ve walked through the gates.

The technology we have integrated has future-proofed the stadium for the people that will enjoy it in years to come by providing a foundation for the venue’s operator and other service providers to add new applications and services.

We’re excited by this new stadium, created for fans in Perth and those who visit from around the country and beyond. It took more than 11,000 hours over a two-year construction period for our team to install all the tech behind the scenes, and we really have been able to deliver on the commitment to create a stadium that puts fans’ experiences front and centre.

Our involvement by the numbers:

  • 200 switches form the nerve centre of the stadium and control connectivity throughout the venue for over 5,500 field points.
  • More than 1,400 wireless access points provide the high-density Wi-Fi solution.
  • Our team spent more than 11,000 hours onsite over a two year period.