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Our new Go Repeaters bring mobile coverage to more places

Regional Devices

Posted on May 1, 2018

4 min read

Today we launched Telstra Go Repeaters – an intelligent antenna solution designed to improve mobile coverage or provide coverage in some places where it’s unavailable. Developed as part of our investment in mobile coverage for regional customers, the device can help improve voice quality and data speeds for both residential and business customers.

We know reliable coverage is at the heart of what our customers want from us. Over the previous three financial years alone, we have invested $2.2 billion in our regional mobile network so more Australians can experience a connected world that supports their way of life.

In addition to upgrading our mobile network in hundreds of regional locations to 4GX, bringing mobile coverage to some of the most remote communities of Australia, we also continue to look for ways to help customers connect with a number of products available like the Telstra Go Repeater that have been developed with our regional customers in mind.

The new Go Repeater is available in two variants: a stationary version designed for customers seeking a coverage solution in residential and commercial premises, and a portable version designed for customers that want to boost coverage in their car, truck or boat. Operating on both our 3G, 4G and 4GX technology, the device works by receiving mobile signals through an external antenna and then enhancing and re-transmitting this signal to a single indoor or in vehicle antenna to extend coverage.

The mobile variant of the new Telstra Go Repeater (above), designed to be installed in vehicles, and the stationary solution (below) for home or business installation.

Suitable for customers that travel between coverage areas or through areas of patchy coverage, or who work in offices or live in residences where indoor signal may be weaker or lacking, Telstra Go Repeater can both improve and extend coverage in areas where signal doesn’t reach.

The launch builds on a number of initiatives that allow our regional customers to connect and businesses to thrive, such as Telstra Wi-Fi Calling that provides voice calling capability on compatible devices when connected to a supported Wi-Fi network, even when the mobile signal is weak or absent, and our Blue Tick rating that signifies a mobile device has been thoroughly tested to deliver superior voice coverage in rural areas.

We are also an active participant in the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program, one of the largest ever expansions of mobile coverage in regional and rural Australia. We are bringing new and improved mobile coverage to regional and remote communities with more than 650 new mobile base stations being built through the Program, and have already delivered over half of these sites. This is more than double the commitment of all other carriers combined and representing a total Telstra investment of $260 million.

Customers can take up the Telstra Go Repeater on a monthly repayment plan or purchase the device outright, at a RRP of $648 for the stationary version or RRP of $720 for the portable version which includes an external magnetic mount antenna and internal antenna. The stationary version will require an external antenna at an additional cost and is required to be professionally installed. We do not offer installation for the portable version and it is recommended that customers arrange installation by an auto-electrician if required.

Things you need to know

  • 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 here.
  • 4GX speeds: Speeds vary for reasons like location, distance from base stations, terrain, user numbers, hardware/software configuration, download source and upload destination.
  • Both the portable and stationary versions of the Telstra Go Repeater have been tested, authorised and approved by Telstra for use on the Telstra Mobile Network. The Telstra Go Repeater is compatible with Telstra’s Next G® Network and 4GX service operating on 3G 850MHz and 4G 700MHz / 1800MHz bands.
  • A single External Antenna (not included) is required to receive the macro-network signals, and a single Indoor Antenna (included) is required where you need service.
  • The type of External and Internal antenna is dependent on the specific use cases and coverage scenario.
  • Blue-Tick rating 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.

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.

350 sites on air, and more to come

Network

Posted on March 28, 2018

4 min read

Telstra has notched up 350 base stations on air nationally through the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program, celebrating this milestone with a community event at Trunkey Creek in New South Wales.

These base stations have contributed to Telstra’s ever-expanding mobile coverage across Australia. Through the Mobile Black Spot and other network investment across Australia, Telstra’s mobile network now covers over 2.5 million square kilometres of the Australian landmass.

Through February and the first half of March, Telstra switched on 38 mobile base stations under the Mobile Black Spot Program across the country, from Yarramalong, NSW, to Needilup, WA.

Last week, we looked back at one of the first mobile base stations we switched on in Victoria, at Gormandale in Gippsland.

Since mobile coverage was brought to the area, local Gormandale residents have been making the most of the new coverage with more than 500,000 calls being made in the 22 months since we turned the tower on.

In addition to calls, the community is embracing the use of technology to stay connected, with more than 34 terabytes of data downloaded since the base station was switched on. That’s the equivalent of more than 6,800 HD movies.

Last week we also celebrated switching on a base station at Carrajung Lower, Victoria, bringing mobile coverage to local residents and to drivers along the Hyland Highway, one of several base stations Telstra is building along the highway under the Mobile Black Spot Program to improve safety by keeping drivers connected to emergency services and GPS tools.

And construction keeps ramping up across the country as we bring new and improved mobile coverage to some of Australia’s more remote and iconic locations.

Closer to Papua New Guinea than Australia, Darnley Island is one of the Torres Strait Islands and home to around 400 residents. Known locally as Erub, and arguably the most remote location in the Mobile Black Spot Program, construction has recently commenced on the island to bring Telstra’s 3G and 4G services to the area for the first time.

We’re also bringing mobile coverage to the Burke and Wills Road House. Named for the ill-fated explorers who took this route back in the 1860s, the area is now home to a population of eight as well as visitors who come to camp in the area. Bringing mobile coverage to this area represents an iconic moment. 150 years ago, explorers traversed the area lost and confused. Imagine how different things would have been had they had mobile coverage to provide maps, information, and contact to the rest of the world.

Regional Mobile Black Spot network investment in 2018

The full list of sites switched on between 1 February and 13 March includes the following:

New South Wales:

  • Niemur
  • Barry
  • Mumbil
  • Yarramalong
  • Comboyne B
  • Yarramalong
  • Balala
  • Baldersleigh
  • Lemon Tree
  • Bedgerebong
  • Byabarra-Bagnoo Road
  • Wyong Creek

Northern Territory:

  • Hayes Creek *

Victoria:

  • Buffalo River
  • Bonang
  • Eganstown
  • Butchers Ridge
  • Carrajung Lower
  • Omeo Highway
  • Killingworth
  • Wartook Valley

Queensland:

  • Windera
  • Wallumbilla *
  • Moonie
  • Landsborough Highway (between Blackall and Tambo)
  • Irvinebank
  • Ravensbourne
  • Burke and Wills Road House
  • Bundoran Road

Western Australia:

  • Wongoondy-Tardun Road
  • Needilup
  • Bulyee
  • Kondut
  • Wogerlin Hill
  • Yallallie

South Australia:

  • Cungena
  • Sheringa

Tasmania:

  • Bradys Lake

Telstra is building a total of 577 new mobile base stations under round 1 and 2 of the Mobile Black Spot Program, more than double all of our competitors combined. Telstra’s rollout of the Mobile Black Spot Program involves co-investment of more than $490 million in regional and rural Australia, with $229 million from Telstra, $134 million from the Federal Government and tens of millions in additional funding from State and Local Governments.

In addition to 577 new mobile base stations, Telstra is continuing to install up to 250 Small Cells to deliver high-speed 4G data services in some small country towns where suitable Telstra infrastructure is available.

* Telstra-funded small cell

Powering Australia’s agricultural future

Regional

Posted on March 23, 2018

2 min read

Today we announced details of a new strategic partnership with Australia’s peak farm body the National Farmers Federation (NFF), to help unlock digital opportunities for Australian farmers, support thought leadership and build advocacy on behalf of regional Australia.

Together with the NFF, we see an amazing opportunity to grow Australia’s agricultural industry from $60 billion per year to a $100 billion per year industry by 2030 – and we believe technology and innovation has a key role to play in achieving this goal.

Our CEO Andy Penn announcing our partnership with the NFF at the 2018 Royal Easter Show.

From IoT to 5G, to our involvement in the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program and our extensive regional mobile network investment, we’ve been busy laying the foundations for a brilliant connected world that supports our Australian way of life.

Below, Sami Makelainen from our Chief Technology Office shares his view for how technology and innovation can help tackle challenges faced by Australian farmers, drive productivity and create efficiencies in the short term:

  1. Even at the simplest end of the scale, IoT is making a major impression with water tank sensors for water level monitoring and leak detection enabling farmers to save significant quantities of water – a precious resource in Australia.
  2. Through ingestible sensors, farmers will be able to monitor and track livestock health and fertility across a range of breeds in real time.
  3. Sensors embedded in soil will soon be able to track moisture and soil health, making it easier for farmers to efficiently distribute water and fertilisers. At the other end for the logistics chain, sensors that can detect the ripeness of food will be integrated into packaging and storage units, optimising the delivery chain for freshness and reduced wastage.
  4. Farm-wide dashboards will provide an integrated view of livestock and crop health, enable precision planting and other cropping activities as well as tracking and forecasting business health and productivity.
  5. The use of drones will become more widespread and will be able to help diagnose crop related diseases, livestock mustering and measure water and nitrogen levels through hyperspectral sensors.

Sami Makelainen is one of 35 contributors to the National Farmers Federation’s Talking 2030 discussion paper, which looks at the long-term policies, ideas, technologies and innovation required to power Australia’s agricultural sector towards our shared 2030 ambitions.

The year ahead for regional investment

Regional Network

Posted on February 8, 2018

3 min read

With hundreds of new base stations, small cells and site upgrades built over the last 6 months or scheduled around the country during the next 6 months, this financial year (FY18) is shaping up as a big year for expanding mobile coverage for regional Australia.

Whenever we meet our customers who live, holiday or work in regional Australia, whether we’re serving them at a regional store or chatting at a community event, the one thing they all share with us is the importance of mobile coverage. Coverage that means they can connect to each other, to businesses, to emergency services.

This isn’t an emerging theme, and we have been building a network that supports the connectivity needs of our regional customers for decades.

Over the previous three financial years alone, Telstra has invested $2.2 billion in its regional mobile network so more Australians can experience a connected world that supports their way of life.

Our mobile network coverage is hundreds of thousands of square kilometres larger than any other provider in Australia – that’s equivalent to the landmass of the United Kingdom and France combined.

And we’re continuing that large-scale investment across the country. To name just a few locations, we are investing $39 million in northern Queensland, $20 million in Gippsland in Victoria and $75 million in central and southern Western Australia this financial year to increase coverage and enhance our mobile network for regional communities.

This includes our contributions to the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spots Program, where we are delivering more than 500 new 3G/4G mobile base stations in regional Australia. Late last month, we announced we had turned on the 300th site as part of this program.

The 300th blackspot base station site was in Wellington Mill, located in the fruit growing Ferguson River Valley in Western Australia, where the importance of connectivity to farmers to run their businesses more efficiently and sustainably.

From farmers using mobile coverage to connect to agricultural apps that let them remotely monitor the moisture levels of the soil and the health of livestock, to a local leather trading store and museum that can now take credit card payments, business is better when it’s connected.

And we’re now using drones to safely inspect mobile infrastructure shortly after disasters, where previously we had to wait until it was safe to access and climb affected towers to check on our equipment manually.

Since mid-December 2017 we’ve built and connected 20 new base stations under the Mobile Black Spot program, providing new or improved coverage for those living or travelling around the following locations:

Victoria New South Wales Queensland WA NT, SA, Tas
 

· Ancona

· Archerton

· Bethanga

 

· Paterson

· Old Wagga Road Sth

 

· Mena Creek

· Belli Park

· Maleny-Kenilworth Road (Conondale to Kenilworth)

· Goomburra

· The Summit

· Pomona Kin Kin Road

 

· Bally Bally

· Manmanning

· Aldersyde

· Darradup

· Bullfinch

· Pantapin

· Wellington Mill

 

· Loyetea, TAS

· Pata, SA

From Victoria’s Yarra Valley, to NSW’s Riverina, to remote aboriginal settlements in South Australia, thousands of people are now benefiting from our state-of-the-art 4GX mobile data and 3G services for the first time.