Media Release, 20 February 2013

Telstra has unveiled a comprehensive network strategy to support Australia’s love affair with mobile technology.

Telstra Chief Operations Officer Brendon Riley said Telstra was looking at new ways to plan for the ongoing surge in mobile data traffic on its networks, with Telstra customers expected to use as much mobile data in 2013 as they did in the past two years combined.

More than half of all Australians now own a smartphone - up from 32% in 2010 - and were increasingly using them not just for work but for entertainment too. "Today, more than 70 per cent of our customers use their smartphone to watch video content, with YouTube, music videos and movie trailers proving most popular," Mr Riley said,"we're also seeing a huge increase in the number of people using their smartphone as their primary tool for searching and social networking, ahead of a traditional PC."

In fact, the average Australian now spends a record 12 hours per week accessing the internet on a smartphone or tablet device. We need to cater for the extraordinary growth in demand for mobile services - today and into the future - to make sure Telstra and our customers remain at the forefront of mobile connectivity.

The strategy is part of Telstra's $1.2 billion wireless network investment for 2012-13 that will include "trialling and introducing advanced technology across the country," Mr Riley said.

Telstra was broadening the scope of its 4G network, adding a second wireless frequency (900MHz spectrum) to better cater for increasing mobile use in regional areas. The lower frequency of the 900MHz spectrum band improves signal range and depth.Telstra is also trialling the next generation of wireless 4G technology, known as LTE-Advanced with plans to introduce it later this year in areas with heavy traffic demand over a greater distance. LTE-Advanced uses the 900MHz and 1800MHz spectrum bands together, allowing more data to be carried faster, unlocking more capacity for mobile use.

In addition to these measures, Telstra is trialling small cell networks - known as heterogeneous networks (HetNets) - to expand network capacity in busy locations with a dense population such as city centres and sporting stadiums. This can complement our existing network by targeting high traffic areas where it would be difficult to build additional large scale base stations.

The works are being undertaken with Telstra’s long-term partner, Ericsson, which is the sole supplier for the rollout of Telstra’s LTE network.

Driving Australia's mobile broadband boom - a snapshot
About the Research: This research was conducted online by The Nielsen Company on behalf of Telstra on a representative sample of 2,119 mobile Australians aged over 16 from across Australia in both metropolitan and regional areas.

Smartphones are being adopted by the masses:

  • 2010: 32% of all mobile phone owners have a smartphone
  • 2011: 41%
  • 2012: 52%
  • 2013 prediction: 60%

Older Australians are taking to smartphone:

Increased across all age groups, with a high increase among those aged 55+ compared to 2011

  • 2010: 17% penetration among 55 yrs +
  • 2011: 21%
  • 2012: 36%

Men and women alike now use smartphones

  • 2010: 43% men; 31% women
  • 2011: 51% men; 42% female
  • 2012: 60% men; 60% women

Smartphones continue to entertain Australians:

  • 2011: 63% have watched video content on their smartphone
  • 2012: 71% have watched video content

And we’re using them to buy things too:

  • 2011: 25% have purchased consumer goods & services
  • 2012: 33% have purchased consumer goods & services (increase driven by gifts, clothing & fashion accessories)