Telstra adds small cells to their stable at Spring Racing Carnival

Media Release, 31 October 2012

Telstra has increased mobile network capacity for both the stayers and the sprinters at Flemington Racecourse with upgrades providing 80 percent more capability in the past year and the announcement to trial an emerging new technology called small cells in the Birdcage to meet user demand.

Mike Wright, Executive Director Telstra Networks and Access Technologies, said Telstra looked at new ways to add capacity to popular sporting events such as the Spring Racing Carnival to meet the use of smartphones and data heavy applications at these events.

“The Telstra Next G® mobile network has been designed to manage the normal day to day demands in a particular area but when a large event is held we know we need to do more to provide the capacity in our network that our customers are using,” said Mr Wright.

Mr Wright said at peak times customers may still experience slower than expected data.

“If data is slower than expected I’d encourage our customers to wait a few minutes and try again. Just as the bars, bathrooms and betting rings experience a heavier demand at times, so too does the mobile network.”

During the 2012 Spring Racing Carnival, Telstra will be conducting a live field trial of Alcatel-Lucent’s lightRadio™ Metro Cell solution to increase mobile network capacity in the Birdcage at Derby Day, the Melbourne Cup and Oaks Day.

“The small cell technology we have deployed in the Birdcage are mini-base stations that complement the two dedicated wide area base stations we have permanently serving Flemington Racecourse,” said Mr Wright.

“The small cell solution we are deploying effectively puts a mini mobile base station closer to the customer. This means there is more Next G® network capacity available to manage the growing demand of our customers to not just make a call or send text messages but to upload photos of themselves in their race day feathers or send videos to social media websites.

“The small cell solution effectively doubles the available wireless network capacity in the Birdcage. Spaced approximately every 10 metres across the venue, we’re getting closer to our customers to carry their data. Small cells such as these should provide an effective boost to the network.

“We believe this is an Australian first in deploying small cell networks and will be looking to see how this live field trial performs to consider if this is a technology we can integrate into our network for other large sporting events or community festivals,” said Mr Wright.

“We haven’t rolled this out across the entirety of Flemington Racecourse, as with any new technology we want to assess how this new technology integrates into our network and see what difference it makes to keep our customers connected.”

Following this live field trial Telstra will assess whether this is an option we can extend to other sporting/community events.