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Australia Telstra unveils new mobile advances in Barcelona

By Cecily Liu in Barcelona ( Updated: 2016-02-25 17:43

Australia Telstra unveils new mobile advances in Barcelona

Mike Wright [Photo provided to China Daily] 

Australia's leading telecommunications service firm Telstra announced a series of mobile advances at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona, paving the way for the launch of a 5G trial service on the Telstra mobile network at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, in partnership with Sweden's Ericsson.

The new technology signifies a breakthrough in mobile speeds and features, and is in line with the firm's ambition to use the 2018 Commonwealth Games "as a test bed to create one of the world's most advanced technology-enabled sporting events of the decade", said Mike Wright, Telstra's Group Managing Director Networks.

Wright said the firm's research and development work for the Commonwealth Games will generate important learning, given the scale of the event and the fact it is occurring in Australia, which has particular geographic and climate challenges.

"Australia is distinct in many ways with an environment and population, ranging from densely populated cities to its remote, sparsely populated outback. The environment creates radio coverage challenges that stand out as vastly different to anywhere else in the world. We will work with Ericsson to ensure that Australia's requirements are built into the radio design parameters of 5G from the ground up," Wright said.

5G technology, is expected to be rolled out on a mass commercial scale by 2020. Currently 5G standards are still under discussion, and Wright said Telstra is working to influence the world standards development to make the company's move into 5G much swifter and smoother.

Telstra and Ericsson are collaborating to deploy a 5G service on Telstra's mobile network in parts of Australia's Gold Coast, which is hosting the 2018 Commonwealth Games. As a part of the two companies'continuing research and development partnership for the next few years, Telstra's engineers will be seconded to Ericsson's Research Lab in Sweden for six months this year.

In addition, Telstra also announced at the Mobile World Congress that later this year the Telstra Mobile Network in Australia will be enabled to support 1 gigabit per second speed capabilities for commercial devices, which will be around 20 times faster than the peak speeds offered by the 4G network when it was first launched in 2011.

Telstra will also enable the capability to switch on LTE broadcast at more than 3,000 sites on its mobile network, to ensure more efficient video content delivery. LTE, which stands for Long-Term Evolution, is currently the most efficient mechanism to distribute the same content to many users, and has grown in importance particularly due to increasing consumer needs to distribute videos.

Wright said that the use of LTE broadcast on its mobile network will prepare its network not only for live video broadcasts and real-time match highlights in sports stadiums and at other event locations but also assist the company's vision of developing mass device and application software, and content updates, laying the foundation for future services across the footprint.

Telstra has also announced that it will launch voice-over Wi-Fi to help customers with compatible voice-over LTE handsets enhance their in-home coverage using their fixed broadband WiFi gateway. This would lead to more consistent and high quality voice technology on handsets.

"All these announcements show that we continue to be at the forefront of innovation, providing consistent, reliable and fast mobile voice and data services for our customers," said Wright.

Telstra, which has operated in different forms in Australia for more than 100 years, expanded into China initially in 1989 through cooperation with the Chinese Academy of Space Technology in in the commercialization of space technology. In 1995 Telstra established an office in Beijing.

Today, Telstra partners with Chinese carriers and local service providers to serve enterprise and carrier customers with communications and IT solutions, such as data and IP networks and network application services, such as managed networks, unified communication and cloud.

"As the world's second largest economy and a country where consumer and business demand for connectivity is growing rapidly, we see China as a very important market," says Cynthia Whelan, Telstra's Group Executive for International and New Businesses.

"Our unique combination of world class assets position us well to serve customers in China, especially multinational corporations with operations in China and across the Asia Pacific region," Whelan says.

Telstra's network in China includes data centers in Tianjin and Chongqing and 26 in-country points of presence. Telstra also operates one of the largest submarine cable networks in the Asia-Pacific region, representing around 30 percent of all intra-Asia traffic.

In more recent years Telstra's China presence accelerated through a number of investments it made, including Autohome, a Chinese leading online destination for car buyers, which successfully listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2013. This year also, they made a strategic investment in Chinese cloud services provider, Qiniu.

Last year Telstra also acquired the Hong Kong based telecommunications company, Pacnet, which doubled its customer base in Asia and increased its presence in China through a joint venture with Pacnet called -PBS. This is a 50/50 joint venture and has licenses to operate in China and provide customers with network and internet data center services .

Across Telstra, PBS and Autohome, the firm currently has more than 3,000 people in 17 offices across China.

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