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Like any other mobile network, coverage on the Telstra Mobile Network depends on where you are, the mobile handset, tablet or broadband device you're using and whether it has an external antenna attached.
It's important to understand that different devices have different capabilities and how each device performs depends on network coverage and device type, make and settings. There are some important factors to consider when choosing a mobile device and any accessories:
- where you'll be using your device – metropolitan areas, regional areas, rural areas or out at sea
- whether you'll be using it in:
- handheld mode
- with a directly coupled car kit and an external antenna or
- with a patch lead and an external antenna.
Things to know about network coverage
Obstructions such as buildings, vehicles, trees, hills and building materials can all reduce the signal level available for your mobile handset, tablet or mobile broadband device. Just as TV sets sometimes need external antennas to improve reception there are cases where the use of antennas can make a significant difference to the performance of a mobile device.
Handsets recommended to maximise coverage in rural areas
To help you select the right mobile handset for your needs, we have a number of handsets that are recommended for rural handheld coverage. These mobile handsets are recommended if you want to maximise your coverage experience and are identified with the Blue Tick symbol.
Please note: Blue Tick qualification test is currently performed on mobile handsets only.
Telstra Mobile Smart Antenna®
The Telstra Mobile Smart Antenna has been designed to extend indoor coverage for Telstra mobile handsets and mobile broadband devices operating on Telstra’s 850MHz Next G network. All you need is at least one spot within your office or home where you can make calls. You can then use the Telstra Mobile Smart Antenna to extend that coverage to other areas of the building (e.g. where there is no signal or the existing signal strength is low).
Increased coverage can help you:
- make voice calls and access mobile broadband in more areas of your home or office
- enjoy more reliable voice calling in more parts of your home or office
- experience more consistent mobile broadband data speeds in more parts of your home or office.
- easy installation as there are no network cables or complex settings – just plug into a standard 240V power supply
- seamless coverage as you move between the extended coverage provided by the Telstra Mobile Smart Antenna and immediately adjoining 850MHz Next G network coverage areas
- unlike other coverage solutions, the Telstra Mobile Smart Antenna doesn't need a fixed broadband connection
- extended handset battery life – the Telstra Mobile Smart Antenna can help improve your handset's battery life by reducing the amount of battery it needs to connect to the 850MHz Next G network.
The Telstra Mobile Smart Antenna is suitable for indoor use, for a family residence or small office. Unlike other mobile repeaters – which may interfere with mobile networks and are illegal to operate – the Telstra Mobile Smart Antenna is designed, tested and authorised for use on Telstra’s 850MHz Next G network.
To use the Telstra Mobile Smart Antenna, you need to:
- be in a Telstra 850MHz Next G coverage area and pass our qualification checks
- have a mobile phone or mobile broadband device that works on Telstra's 850MHz Next G network
- have an active Telstra mobile or mobile broadband service.
If you would like us to assess whether the Telstra Mobile Smart Antenna can be of benefit to you, contact us on the following numbers:
- Residential customers call 13 2200 (say ‘coverage’)
- Business customers call 13 2000 (say ‘coverage’) or contact your account executive.
Please note: Telstra Mobile Smart Antenna operates on the 850MHz Next G part of the Telstra Mobile Network. Telstra Mobile Smart Antenna is not designed to improve Telstra 4G coverage, so if you have a 4G device, you will only experience improved coverage from Telstra Mobile Smart Antenna for:
- voice calling (provided that your device uses 850MHz Next G for voice calls)
- mobile data, but only where your device is using Telstra’s 850MHz Next G Mobile Network for its mobile data connection (e.g. if you’re not in a Telstra 4G coverage area or you have configured your device so that it only connects to Telstra’s 850MHz Next G Mobile Network for mobile data).
Car-Kit and Yagi Antennas
A range of external antennas are available that can provide improved coverage for certain mobile devices in areas where coverage is marginal. Even when you are in an area where handheld coverage is possible, an external antenna solution may also improve the performance of your handset or broadband device.
External antennas range in size and types and can improve coverage in the areas noted:
- Low gain – city and major regional areas (0 – 3 dBi)
- Medium gain – regional (3 – 5 dBi)
- High gain – rural and major highways (6.5 – 7.5 dBi).
External antennas are the most effective when mounted in a mobile base station 'line of sight' area or where best signal is received. Depending on location and type of antenna used, this can be near a window, building rooftop, pole or other elevated structure. As with all antennas, the general rule when mounting is the higher the better. After the antenna has been fitted it is connected directly to the mobile device such as a broadband modem.
When using a 'Yagi' directional antenna you need to ensure that it is pointed in the direction of the nearest mobile phone base station to operate effectively.
External antennas can also be used for vehicles when travelling or doing business in rural and remote areas or along stretches of highways where coverage can be marginal. Vehicle external antennas are commonly attached to the handset via a car-kit or a patch-lead where a car-kit is not available.
See your local Telstra store for assistance with picking the best antenna option for you as well as help with installation.
Please note: Depending on device capability and available coverage, external antennas can improve 3G and 4G coverage on the Telstra Mobile Network. Not all external antennas allow direct connection to the handset or broadband device. Antenna accessories are only available for selected handset and broadband models. Please refer to the device manufacturer for specifications or visit a Telstra shop for assistance.
Camping and caravanning
This short video is to help you get the most out of the Telstra Mobile Network if you plan to go camping or caravanning:
Out to sea coverage
Telstra's 850MHz Next G network can typically extend 20 to 70 km out to sea from mobile base stations located near the coast. However, there are many factors like the weather, tides, sea conditions and your antenna installation (type and height above sea level) can significantly influence coverage, data speed and performance. As a result, you must not rely on the Telstra Mobile Network as a primary method of communication at sea.
To assist your mobile services when out to sea, you should use a directly connected external antenna – one that is omni-directional or a specialist marine antenna capable of 'tracking' to the best serving base station. The antenna should be mounted as high as possible on your vessel using marine grade cabling and connections.
In order for a service out to sea to work effectively, line of sight to the terrestrial base station is required. This is influenced by the height of the serving base station, land based obstructions such as trees and buildings, as well as the general topography of the land, which can block signals. Coverage will not be reliable over the horizon from a mobile base station even though it may be usable at times.
We've created a short video to help you maximise your coverage while you're at sea: