We’ve come a long way in 10 years. We’ve seen networks come and others go, celebrating our connectivity milestones along the way. Here’s our highlight reel from our decade in tech.
This piece is part one of a three-part series on how technology shaped the last decade of our lives. You can read more about the tech of the decade here.
At the beginning of the decade, we couldn’t predict the explosive demand for data, and how we’d always be able to keep up with new and incredible technologies. But in the first 12 months of our 4G network, we connected a massive 500,000 devices, and were more than up to the task of servicing them with all the data they needed!
When we launched our AMPS (or 1G) network in April 1987 it took until late 1992 before we reached the half a million customer milestone. When we launched our GSM (or 2G) network in 1993 it took us two years to reach the 100,000 customer milestone – so the pace has certainly picked up!
This year we wanted to make life even easier for our data-hungry customers, by eliminating excess data charges on all of our new plans. It’s a bright future for mobile data in the years to come!
Need for speed
In 2010, it was common for Australians to be connected to a theoretical maximum speed of 1.5Mbps on their home internet connections, with little to no need for big data caps on the go unless they were serious business users.
But as we released our billion-dollar NextG network, we realised that this was all about to change. The convergent smartphones of the early 2010s meant that more could be done on the go, and we knew we had the network for the job.
In 2015, we crossed an incredible milestone that still feels shocking to read: we crossed 1Gbps of theoretical maximum speed over 4G, pushing the limits of LTE further than ever before. We successfully tested 1Gbps speed capability by aggregating together 100MHz of Telstra’s spectrum holdings across five separate 4G channels integrated on our commercial end to end network.
The changing face of usage
In 2007, if you told someone you could beam high-definition, live sport from the other side of the world to a supercomputer in your pocket, they’d tell you to dream on. 10 years later, in 2017, the biggest spike on our network came from the Floyd Mayweather – Conor McGregor bout!
In 2017 Australians used around 40 per cent more data on the Telstra mobile network than the previous year, with the day of the Mayweather-McGregor bout topping the list for data usage in a 24-hour period.
What we have seen is that data usage has been growing consistently and rapidly throughout the year. All our top data days were in the second half of the year and the biggest data day in the first few months of the year is just an average day now.
And in 2019, the records kept tumbling. Gaming smash hit Fortnite redefined how people used our network this year. Read more about our big data spikes of the year here.
A wild, connected future: predictions for 2030
10 years ago, we had no idea that video would be the biggest driver of internet traffic. We didn’t know that connected devices would number in the billions. We didn’t know that we’d all be working from home. And we definitely didn’t know that we’d be five-minutes-to-midnight when it came to global climate change.
As we look forward into the next decade, we boldly predict where we’ll be 10 years from now.
While many futurists predict the literal rise of flying cars by 2030, the more significant change will be how the four-wheeled future is powered.
A number of countries have already announced plans to ban the purchase of new vehicles powered by internal combustion engines (ICEs) by the year 2030. Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, the Netherlands and Sweden will all ban the sale of new gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicles from 2030, while Barcelona, Brussels, Cape Town, Hainan, Heidelberg, London and Los Angeles have all announced similar plans. Other countries have announced de-ICEing plans including Costa Rica, France, Norway, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom within the next two decades.
2019-20 was the year the electric car went from being a pipe dream to a reality, and already in 2020 we’re staring down the headlights of major manufacturers jumping on board to create more affordable models. Some of the largest manufacturers even want up to 40% of their sales to be made up by EVs by 2030.
No matter what the new cars of the future look like, it’s going to be an electrified ride.
The New Colony
Since we crawled out of the caves, we’ve been developing new ways to build our homes to shelter us from the elements. As the cost of labour and materials continues to rise throughout the 2020s, we’ll be harnessing new ways to construct environmentally sound homes by 2030. This means harnessing the power of robotics and 3D printing to quickly “print” homes in as little as 24 hours.
The world’s first community of 3D printed homes has been unveiled in Mexico this year which allows families to live in high-quality, low-cost housing faster than ever before. The printer that made the homes is 10 metres in length and extrudes a quick-dry concrete mixture. Currently it can’t work in adverse conditions, but as the technology improves and becomes more reliable over the next 10 years, it’s set to revolutionise everything from low-cost housing through to disaster relief efforts.
And as NASA and the European Space Agency prepare to launch a moon colony in the second-half of the coming decade, they’re looking to take 3D printed structures to an extraterrestrial level. Next stop, Mars?
Automation is the process of replacing human workers for advanced robotics in the global workforce. It’s something that has already put millions of humans out of work, and it’s not slowing down.
CEDA research shows that more than five million jobs – representing almost 40 per cent of the jobs that exist today – will likely be disrupted by technology in the next decade.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Research from McKinsey and Company indicates that the number of jobs that the internet has disrupted and disappeared is lower than the number of jobs that the rise of the internet has created from new innovations and new industries. It’s around 2.6 jobs created for everyone that was rendered obsolete.
As new industries emerge throughout the 2020s, old industries will evolve and reengineer themselves to create a connected workforce of the future. Furthermore, we see a future whereby automated robots will work alongside human operators to create greater efficiencies in the workforce.
Research from PriceWaterhouseCoopers shows that the connected workforce of 2030 will look vastly different to the workforce of today thanks to technology. These changes will fundamentally reshape the way we engage with work and how we interact with our cities. Connectivity and environmental concerns will drive future workers to stay home rather than commute to an office. 5G will allow for near-instant communication, making high-resolution video chat more pervasive and useful than ever.
Employers may even implement rewards for workers who choose to work flexibly instead of commuting, as it falls in line with a broader organisational environmental policy.
At the end of 2018, it was estimated that over seven billion devices were connected to the internet. When you think of the word “devices”, it’s easy to get caught up and think that we’re just talking about smartphones, tablets and laptops. The reality is, in fact, more pervasive than you think.
When we talk about devices, we’re talking about solar-powered sensors, automated terminals and even vending machines that can tell a company when it needs to be refilled. The machine-to-machine internet is alive and well already, and by 2030 it’s going to be absolutely everywhere.
Research predicts that by 2030, over 100 billion devices – including consumer smartphones, sensors and smart machines – will be hooked up to the modern internet.
Think of everything in your life right now, right down to the clothes you’re wearing. It’s more than likely that by 2030, there will be an internet-connected version on the shelves, waiting for you to use.
Think about a coat that was connected to the internet that could ventilate itself based on changing weather conditions, all the while playing your favourite music through bone-conduction audio in the collar. Think about how businesses will be able to streamline their workflow once every device on their network is reporting its status for effective workforce management. The possibilities are endless, and some haven’t even been discovered yet.
Thankfully, we’ll already have widespread 5G coverage by 2030 with more latency and capacity available on the network than ever before. We’ll also have a more mature dedicated Internet of Things network to compliment the leading one we already have.
On our current climate trajectories, the world will experience an ocean level rise of 15cm by 2030 – potentially higher if our behaviour gets worse. Technology built from the 1990s and into the 2010s was constructed on existing coastlines and often without thought to how it would be future-proofed against catastrophic climate shift.
We boast the largest undersea cable network in all of Asia, and we’re proud to maintain it into the future. Scientists warn, however, that land-based cable networks aren’t built to withstand the same kind of conditions as their underwater cohorts. If left unchecked, internet landing stations that connect oceanic cables into countries could be under threat due to climate change. And it’s not just connectivity that would be threatened. Research shows that facilities currently on dry land – including data centres, points of presence and other landing stations – run the risk of being underwater by 2030.
We’re already planning to make our network more resilient to climate threats, and calling on our leaders to heed the warnings from scientists about the potentially devastating impacts of climate change in the next 10 years.