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Telstra to build Australia's first national internet of things network

27 Feb 2017

Telstra has revealed plans to create Australia’s first national internet of things network, as well as an upgrade to its optical networks and trials of new 5G technology.

The announcement comes as part of the telco’s “Network of the Future” program announced overnight at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona.

Telstra partnered with long-time collaborator Ericsson to deploy network software, which will enable Cat-M1 LTE networks using Ericsson’s Massive IoT software, to its radio and core networks.

Cat-M1 technology allows for low-power, wide-area technologies to work on a licensed spectrum. It is suitable for devices using mobility, voice support and moderate bitrates in the order of hundreds of kbps, like vehicle telematics, asset tracking, consumer and healthcare wearables and smart electricity metering.

Telstra has already begun trialling the technology in Melbourne and Tasmania in preparation for Cat-M1 to make its way to Australia in the second half of 2017, supported on the telco’s 4G network.

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Sending a selfie now possible from Warroo

27 Feb 2017

The installation of a Telstra tower in the blackspot community of Warroo means locals will now have mobile phone reception.

Southern NSW Telstra General Manager, Chris Taylor, said the new base station – part of a roll-out across Central NSW - will benefit the farming community. 

“Communities nominated their area as blackspots and in need of a tower,” he said. 

“Warroo was one of the communities in round one that were fortunate enough to be provided with this tower. The decision to award funding to the Warroo site was made back in December 2015.”

Deputy Mayor, Grant Clifton, was delighted that a locality within the Forbes Shire was chosen for a network.

“Out here in Warroo, it’s going to be absolutely fantastic. It’s not going to solve everybody’s problems, but the ones that do now get coverage, I think it’s going to be much better for their businesses, for their personal life and for medical reasons,” he said. 

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Where talk isn't cheap

27 Feb 2017

ONE very apparent difference between a modern movie and an older one is that with the latter, the computer monitors are very large and the mobile phones are conspicuously absent.

Although I can remember the "brick" phone from the early 1990s, a phone so large it was carried separately like a briefcase, mobile phones haven't been around for all that long.

Nowadays, mobile phones are almost always smart phones, including those invented by the Apple people and although they sell millions per year, the iPhone only turned 10 last year.

A family once shared a single phone, but we have become used to every member of the family having his or her personal phone, a device that is used to make phone calls almost as an afterthought.

Three companies have mobile networks in WA with many smaller companies buying bulk access wholesale and retailing it to individual customers.

The official line is that competition between the large wholesalers and smaller retailers will keep the bastards honest and ensure a good service at a reasonable rate.

It sounds good, but Telstra is the only supplier and competition is non-existent in one million square kilometres of Australia - and it isn't all in the pastoral areas.

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5G phones are coming earlier than you thought

27 Feb 2017

A standards body says the next-generation wireless network can hit a deadline of 2019 instead of 2020.

5G's coming -- and it will be here faster than predicted.

5G New Radio (5G NR), a flavor of the next-generation wireless network that's expected to be the global standard, should be available for large-scale deployments in 2019, a year earlier than anticipated, nearly two dozen companies said Sunday.

The companies who've vowed to reach a standard for 5G for that timeframe included a mix of wireless carriers, chip providers and device makers -- such as Qualcomm, Intel, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom -- that are part of the 3GPP standards group.

"For consumers, this means they're going to get an elevated broadband experience in 2019," Rasmus Hellberg, senior director of technical marketing at Qualcomm, told CNET in an interview ahead of the news, which was announced at the Mobile World Congress tradeshow in Barcelona, Spain.


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Optus demonstrates 4.5G at Macquarie Park head office

23 Feb 2017

Optus is putting pressure on its competitors in the race to be the first telco with comprehensive 5G services, switching on 4.5G network services in Macquarie Park, the telco headquarters’ home suburb.

Before an audience of media at the Optus Campus in Sydney on Wednesday, managing director of networks Dennis Wong told guests the company was driven by its strategy to converge mobile technology with high-quality multimedia.

Wong said Optus was pushing towards 5G as part of its evolving entertainment strategy, that has already seen the company move into mobile sports broadcasting, with a number of rights already held.

“4.5G is a key area of investment for our network evolution towards 5G. It is an important enabler for 5G and we are excited to be able to deliver this new initiative to our customers at Macquarie Park,” he said.

Through a hardware partnership with Huawei, the telco has rolled out a number of new antenna base stations across Macquarie Park, which will allow the suburb's 95,000 residents and 400 business to access higher speeds, through mobiles already capable of 4G as well as new devices the company is set to roll out in 2017.

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Vodafone connects Tasmanians with expanded mobile coverage

23 Feb 2017

Vodafone is expanding its Tasmanian network with six new towers in and around Launceston and upgrading a number of existing sites to provide improved 4G services to its customers in the city.

Late last year, Vodafone switched on two new towers in the Launceston suburbs of Norwood and Ravenswood and says it will switch on another four new towers before the end of the year – Newham and Prospect Hill before June, Launceston North before August, and Youngtown by the end of the year.

According to the telco, when completed, the new towers will deliver a total of 428 square kilometres of additional mobile coverage.

The investments in Launceston are in addition to upgrades in the past 12 months to four existing towers.

Vodafone chief technology officer Kevin Millroy said Vodafone continued to improve services for customers in the region through direct investment as well as participation in the federal government’s mobile black spot programme.

“Vodafone is investing heavily and working hard to improve and expand its services in and around Launceston, as it is around the whole country.

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Mobile tower rage: ‘We pay the price’

23 Feb 2017

 A DEEBING Heights couple is taking aim at a major telecommunications provider after a 45m tall mobile tower was approved without their knowledge.

Darryl Beyer and Jenny Harrison of Newsky Ct live less than 300m from a recently approved Optus tower and say most of the residents on their street were not consulted.

The couple and their two children are now moving out of their family home before construction of the tower is finished for fear of its negative health effects.

"We really love it here. We back on to bushland and have kangaroos, king parrots and lizards in our back garden," Jenny said.

"We don't want to move but I see no alternative. Our plan was to stay until the children left high school in another 10 years, but 10 years is a long time to live underneath and be exposed to such a tower. I worry about the electromagnetic levels we are exposed to.

"I'd never forgive myself if anything ever happened to the children. Although the evidence would never be conclusive, I would always wonder."

Darryl said everyone in the street should have been consulted.

"There are financial implications as well, nobody can say it won't have an effect on the value of our home. It's got to have a financial impact. People don't move to bushland to have a tower leaning over them," he said.

"I've got Telstra and I've got full service.

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Wisemans Ferry reception causes anguish for mobile customer

21 Feb 2017

A WISEMANS Ferry resident had no mobile reception for almost two weeks in January and can’t find out why. 

Steven Marlborough lives at Wisemans Ferry on a pension and does not have a landline as it is cheaper to have a mobile. The no-phone period started on January 21 with a blackout and then the phone reception disappeared. It did not come on again until February 2. “The internet was out for a week too,” he said.

He said his carrier is Medion, an Aldi company, but they use Telstra infrastructure. Medion told him they did not know why he had no service, and said to contact Telstra. 

When there was a drowning down the road on January 29, Mr Marlborough said neighbours couldn’t ring out on their mobiles from the riverbank to alert the searching helicopter that they had found the person. 

Mr Marlborough said despite repeated calls to his carrier and to Telstra, he could not ascertain why he had no reception. “They didn’t let us know it was going to happen, and didn’t tell us how long it would be,” he said. “When the businesses at Wisemans Ferry complained, they got service after a week.

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Optus' $4 million plan to end blackspots in Coffs

21 Feb 2017

IRRITATING mobile black spots may be a thing of the past with Optus today announcing a $4.3 million commitment to improve 3G and 4G coverage across Coffs Harbour.

The mobile giant has recently completed $1.3 million of work to build three new sites at Urunga South, Woolgoolga Central and Bonville.

Around $3 million has now been earmarked for mobile sites at Boambee, Sawtell South, North Boambee Valley, Diggers Beach, Moonee Beach and Corindi Beach.

Optus NSW State Manager, Dylan Harrad-Chantler, said the investment will improve mobile coverage and customer experience for Coffs' residents and the town's 1.5 million annual visitors.

"We are committed to improving mobile coverage and providing faster internet download speeds for people living, working and visiting Coffs Harbour,” he said.

"The network handles over 50 million calls, 65 million SMS messages and carries 600 terabytes of data every day. This growing demand for mobile services is why we are continuously investing and working closely with council and the community to determine locations for new sites.”

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Mid February Update

18 Feb 2017

Telstra continues its major push this fortnight with 11 new sites as well as 70 site upgrades but also proposing a further 191 tower upgrades all with 4G900. Telstra is continuing its older 4G1800 rollout with its more recent 4G700 rollout with its new 4G900 rollout with mid this year being a major target, aiming for 99% population coverage.  Telstra currently claims 98% coverage while Optus is claiming 95.9%, however my personal experience recently switching from Optus to Telstra, I got far more 4G on Optus.

Optus has gotten the year off with a slow start and thigs haven’t changed much, it managed 16 new sites and only 46 site upgrades. Optus continues to roll out 4G700 primarily but also the higher bands where appropriate. Optus may be waiting for it 2G switch off in April 1st, perhaps it will do what Telstra did and ramp up shortly after.

Vodafone after its bit of a bang last report continues to plod along with 3 new sites as well as 13 upgrades with most of the upgrades relating to 4G850.

NBN activated 9 sites all on the east side of Australia including SA, as well as upgrading a further 6 sites.

The low band 700mhz 4G gap between Optus and Telstra has decreased by 16 sites as Telstra continues to ramp up. Optus is still ahead of Telstra however in 4G700 by 1086 sites.

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