Telstra announced in October 2019 that it would be closing its 3G network in June 2024. There is less than two years remaining to transition 3G devices and services to 4G, 5G, LTE-M and NB-IoT networks
So, you may ask “does this affect me?” especially if the business you are responsible for is not an Internet of Things (IoT) or a Machine to Machine (M2M) company. Sometimes IoT services are hidden in plain sight. IoT and M2M applications and services are not new, they have been around for many decades in different guises and have been used to help business across many different industries to improve processes, efficiencies, customer experience, compliance, and digitisation. Many businesses today employ a variety of IoT and M2M services including but not limited to vehicle and asset tracking; Point of Sale (POS) terminals at sales counters; security systems and sensors; smart energy meters; equipment monitoring in manufacturing and many others. Very often these applications have not been designed and built by your business but have been sourced through a third party or provided as part of an end-to-end solution.
By way of example, a manufacturing or industrial operation will have heavy equipment being controlled by PLC or SCADA systems. The system or certain equipment may be monitored remotely using primary or backup cellular communication devices. The goods that have been produced will be tracked through the supply chain using vehicle tracking solutions as they are transported from site to destination. If any of these are 3G-only devices, the equipment being monitored for early detection of possible failure and asset tracking will cease functioning, impacting negatively on business operations.
If you believe this is a risk that could impact your business, but you don’t know where to start, Telstra Purple is here to provide guidance through an array of professional and managed service offerings. Telstra Purple is the largest Australian owned business technology services provider, focused on outcome-based, transformative tech solutions that enable lasting change for your business. They have the capacity to assist from discovery, design and simple integrations to complex transformations, spanning multiple technologies and geographies. Employing over 1500 qualified experts in network, IoT, security, cloud, collaboration, mobility, software, data and analytics, Telstra Purple bring a radically open-minded approach to every idea, process and solution that is co-created with you.
Whether you need a thorough impact assessment or you already know that you have 3G-only equipment that is no longer supported by the vendor and need assistance with replacing it and integrating the new equipment, Telstra Purple has the skills to support you through this transition in the following ways.
1. Help you understand your digitalisation roadmap and IoT Readiness
Often, we see organisations have an idea of their high-level objectives but find it difficult to articulate that problem into a meaningful form that development teams or partners can easily design and build a solution against. If your organisation has identified IoT as a key enabler of your digital transformation strategy, but are facing various challenges in taking a structured approach to execution, an IoT readiness assessment can help you to better understand and define your goals/objectives. Through such an assessment Telstra Purple can work with you to comprehensively evaluate current capabilities, systems and processes whilst engaging more broadly with your business on IoT awareness and future ambitions. This will enable you to define critical components required for IoT adoption and establish the finer details of a priority use case.
2. Perform a Radio Frequency (RF) Site Survey
Understanding how operations and your current network coverage (4G, 5G or cellular IoT) for your fixed location sites will be impacted when changing network technologies is an important consideration. Telstra Purple can conduct a RF site survey which is the first key step in the ‘solution design’ process and used to ensure that any design and solutioning work, and related business decisions are based on a fundamental understanding of the environment, underpinned by accurate and valid data. A RF site survey provides a detailed investigation and analysis of your existing environment and is broken down into two key components:
- Site Survey (Onsite Component)
This involves a specialist Telstra Purple engineering expert visiting your site(s) to investigate and collect both physical (geographic, fixed and mobile infrastructure) and logical (network topology, network coverage and capacity requirements) site and network information.
- Survey Analysis and Reporting (Offsite Component)
Taking the findings of the site survey, the Telstra Purple specialist will analyse all information and data collected to identify key findings that can be utilised in the design of an effective solution which best meets your needs.
Telstra Purple can also provide a quick and cost-effective RF self-survey option which allows you to test multiple LTE and LPWAN networks at the same time in a single pass. The provided device is fully autonomous so it can be turned on and moved through the survey area by your own team or in your existing vehicles. There is no need for skilled operators and on completion, the data is uploaded for processing. The test results include coverage, data quality, voice, interference, noise, overshooting, pilot pollution, serving and neighbouring cell metrics information.
For fixed IoT device deployments such as smart meters, Telstra can provide coverage details based on the latitude and longitude information provided by you. This can be requested through your account manager.
3. Design Workshop
Where a problem has been defined, Telstra Purple will come together with you and your team to rapidly solve the challenges associated with switching from 3G. This multi-day design sprint rapidly validates ideas and helps to de-risk new projects whilst delivering exceptional outcomes within a very tight timeline. It allows you to move through problem definition, mapping the vision and narrative, reframing and visualising the way forward and delivering a prototype in a short space of time.
Not everyone requires a design workshop, so the Telstra Purple team is on hand to discuss the problem statement and evaluate the benefits of running the workshop.
4. Device and Solution Systems Integration
As we continue to drive awareness of the 3G network closure we are increasingly seeing customers who have identified legacy devices but either the original manufacturer or supplier of the equipment no longer exists and/or the solution was a bespoke integration into their systems and a direct swap is not available. So, while the process of selecting a replacement device can be complex and confusing, ensuring that the replacement device is correctly integrated can be even more so.
Telstra Purple can assist with this complex task if needed. An array of systems integration professionals are on hand to drive the process forward to ensure new devices and services can replace those legacy solutions which are no longer supported.
In summary, 3G closure is fast approaching and it is important for your business to understand if is impacted, what the impact is and to have a plan and roadmap in place to ensure that impact on you and your customers is mitigated. The Telstra Purple team are ready to support you on this journey to not only help with the switch but also take advantage of all the opportunities that a move to 4G and 5G technology enables.
For more information about Telstra Purple visit https://www.purple.telstra.com/services/iot
To discuss your specific needs please contact our 3G Migration team by clicking the button below.