Providing unmatched performance across Australia with LTE 1800 MHz radio network and multi-access Evolved Packet Core.
Holding the dominant market position means never standing still. For mobile operators already at the top, a growing demand for high speed broadband has led to an increasingly fast-paced arena in which to compete.
Telstra in Australia is undoubtedly the number one choice for consumers in the country. Its network performance is unmatched and it provides the best coverage in the country, reaching over 99 percent of the population, including those in remote rural areas.
Being able to handle traffic in such a huge country is a challenge. Combined with the increase in smartphones and data use, Telstra knew it needed to act to meet the expectations of its subscribers.
"We're seeing insatiable demands for wireless data," says Mike Wright, Executive Director of Networks and Access Technologies, Telstra. "This has been going on for 6 or 7 years with demand for data traffic nearly doubling every 12 months, so LTE was the logical conclusion to evolve our network in high performance and to give us the capacity and the speed that customers want."
Telstra partnered with Ericsson to expand its offering, launching 4G service on its Next G network. Mike Wright explains: "Ericsson delivered to us the 1800 MHz radio equipment which was very important and they also helped us with the design of the network and part of the deployment and rollout, so jointly we made this commitment, and we launched it on time."
The LTE 1800 MHz equipment supplied was part of a complete solution, in which Ericsson provided Radio and Core networks, services and OSS management. This included multi-standard RBS 6000 base stations and the world's first triple access Evolved Packet Core, with SGSN-MME Pool for highest availability and Evolved Packet Gateway on the SSR 8020. The Next G network, which was first built for 3G service in 2006, now covers 2.1 million km2 plus an additional 1 million km2 out to sea.
Telstra and Ericsson have a long-term relationship and have been working closely together to improve network performance levels. Warwick Bray, Group Managing Director, Product, Telstra talks about the benefits of the partnership: "The advantage of working with Ericsson is we get all of the network advances early. That allowed us to be early with HSPA+ and allows us to be early with LTE. We have confidence that will continue with LTE Advanced, LTE Broadcast and Small Cells."
Maintaining high performance and ensuring that the network transformation did not affect subscribers was the number one priority throughout the project. Kursten Leins, General Manager of Strategic Marketing, Ericsson Australia explains how this was achieved: "We were able to reduce the number of network nodes by 40 percent, which is quite significant. We also have 100 percent availability, providing very high performance. The spectrum re-farming from the existing band in 1800 MHz was a smooth transition with no adverse impacts to existing services."
A clear lead
The results have been overwhelming. In the last 2 years, nearly 3 million customers have joined Telstra in a country with approximately 23 million people. The solution has strengthened Telstra's position and brand, which is known for its powerful 4G network and the capability that brings: low latency, high speeds and a great user experience.
The success of Telstra's superior Next G network performance has been well-proven. It has maintained a clear lead in the smartphone and mobile data segments and this has enabled it to charge a premium for its services and command an industry-leading ARPU.
Mike Wright goes into further detail: "There's a very clear linkage between superior network performance and our business outcomes. We see that we earn higher ARPUs from our customers, we have growing market share, customers are prepared to pay a little more when they know that the network is going to be reliable and give them great service."