Telstra has delivered a state of the union update about its network and future features and enhancements that will make 5G even faster and accessible to even more customers.
These improvements include Cloud RAN, satellite back up for outages and even better cyber security and blocking of scam text messages and calls.
Telstra is in its fifth year offering 5G to customers with more than 80 per cent now using a 5G compatible device.
Telstra’s 5G network is already accessible by 85 per cent of the population and will move to 95 per cent by 2025.
In the process, Telstra has added 2.71 million square kilometres of coverage.
Today Telstra offers coverage across 35 per cent of the Australian landmass – one million square kilometres more than its nearest competitor (Optus).
Telstra yesterday announced the launch of Cloud RAN technology with its long-term partner Ericsson.
It is the first deployment of Cloud RAN in Australia with seven sites to receive the update on the Gold Coast in Queensland.
RAN is short for radio access network, and it acts as a bridge to improve coverage, capacity and reliability for the Telstra 5G network.
We already uses a lot of apps where the computing happens in the cloud and where all the data is stored.
Now take that scenario and apply it to the 5G network where the cloud do do the heavy lifting when needed to improve the quality of the network.
“This step in the validation and rollout of this technology is critical to ensure we get the most out of 5G now and in the future,” says Iskra Nikolova, Telstra Executive for Network and Infrastructure.
“It will allow us to roll out network capacity and new features faster while making our networks more intelligent, automated, flexible, reliable, and secure.
“This is particularly important when it comes to making sure that areas of high demand, particularly large events and seasonal hotspots can operate at the high standard our customers expect.
“Our ongoing partnership with Ericsson has once again supported Telstra’s efforts to deliver a world-leading 5G experience for the Australian public.”
Telstra earlier this week announced a partnership with Starlink to provide voice and broadband services to customers in remote and rural areas.
But satellites will play a part in the future for Telstra customers with LEO (low earth orbit) satellites offering back up for service outages.
The base stations will have a redundancy so, in the event of an outage, they can redirect signals via satellite.
In two to three years’ time, Telstra says 5G will be enhanced even further to allow customers to connect to satellites to make and receive calls when they can’t pick up a cellular signal.
Remember, 65 per cent of Australia’s landmass has no cellular coverage but being able to switch to a satellite will solve this issue.
Problem is there also need to be compatible devices and at this point Apple, Samsung and Google have not indicated when their radios will be updated to make them compatible to the future 5G iteration.
Apple demonstrated satellite connectivity when you can’t find a cellular signal with Emergency SOS – but that only lets users send a text message.
The next leap in that technology will being able to make calls as well via satellites.
On the cyber protection front, Telstra is collecting 80m data points every five minutes and identifying 18bn possibly malicious events a day.
It has blocked 300 million scam texts – that’s 25 million a month.
Telstra has also removed 405 million scam emails and are also blocking 10 million scams calls a day.