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Telstra to offer voice-only and voice plus broadband via Starlink in rural Australia

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Telstra is the first Telco in the world to offer voice-only and voice plus broadband powered by Starlink to rural and remote Telstra customers in Australia.

The deal with Starlink will provide additional connectivity option for people and businesses in bush locations where distance and terrain make it difficult to reach with existing networks.

Obviously, LEO (low earth orbit) satellites are much closer to Earth, allowing them to send and receive signals much faster. This makes Starlink ideal for services that need low-latency, like voice and video calls or providing backhaul to mobile networks.

“We’re expecting to be able to offer this to customers and businesses towards the end of 2023, when we’ll also be able to share our unique pricing and plan details as well as how basic voice calls will work with our modem which will be offered with the service,” said Telstra Regional Australia Executive Loretta Willaton.

The agreement will also provide connectivity options for our business customers in Australia and overseas, as a higher bandwidth business grade option in areas without fixed and mobile connectivity.

“Telstra is always looking to invest in new and better connectivity options for our customers. We know that collaborating with the right partners is one of the best ways to help unlock a digital future, in this case for people in rural and remote Australia looking for an improved voice or broadband service,” said Telstra CEO Vicki Brady.

“Our teams have been out across the country testing and trialling Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite technology to ensure we understand where it’s the best solution for our consumer and business customers.

“What will set our offer apart is the addition of Telstra voice service, a professional install option and the ability to get local help with your set up if needed.”

Telstra currently uses a mix of technologies to provide voice and broadband services in rural and remote Australia, including nbn Fixed Wireless, Telstra’s own mobile network and older copper and radio networks.

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3G

Telstra Lends Helping Hand as 3G Shutdown Approaches

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Telstra has started handing out 12,000 free mobile devices to struggling customers ahead of its 3G shutdown on 31 August, 2024. People in difficult financial situations, who live in rural and remote areas or the elderly, will be targeted in the handout.

“This initiative will benefit the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Major Brendan Nottle from The Salvation Army.

Telstra’s Consumer Segment Executive, Marty McGrath with Major Brendan Nottle from The Salvation Army.

“Ensuring that every Australian, from any background or level of income, can take part in our modern digital society is crucial. A phone can be a gateway to social inclusion, community connection and support, and with the upcoming closure of 3G networks in Australia it is important for us to reach out and ensure that this can continue for everyone.”

Although most Australians have moved on to 4G/5G devices, there are many people still using old handsets. Telstra says it will be communicating with eligible customers in the coming weeks to let them know a device is on its way. The devices will be

Telstra’s 3G network will close 31 August, 2024

Along with a new device, customers will receive instructions showing them how to switch to their new phone on the 4G network. Around 156,000 customers from consumers to small business are using devices that are either 3G only, do not support Voice over 4G (VoLTE), have 4G coverage limitations, or are 4G enabled but hardwired to use 3G for Emergency calls. These users are currently receiving pre-recorded messages when making an outgoing call to alert them about the change.

If you’re unsure, SMS 3 to 3498 (3GXT) to check your phone or contact Telstra directly.

There’s a lot more information here about the 3G shutdown.

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Awards

Bronte Spielvogel and Steve Carey are February 2024’s Top PR/Comms People

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As the new year moves into its third month it’s time to recognise two more outstanding PR and Media Comms people for the month of February 2024. This is when we start seeing a flood of emails coming in after the excitement of CES calms down.

Remember, these are the people who ensure we get review devices on time while answering the tough questions. It’s important to note that while these operators help facilitate news and reviews, they have no say in our stories.

So with that .. Image Matrix Tech is pleased to announce that Bronte Spielvogel from CampaignLab is the winner of BEST AGENCY OPERATOR FEBRUARY 2024.

Bronte Spielvogel, Account Manager CampaignLab

Bronte is an account manager at one of the best agencies in the business. Clients Bronte works with include Hertz/Thrifty, Fujifilm Australia, Zagg and OPPO.

Once again – Bronte ‘gets it’. This is an important recurring theme in these awards.

Too many PR and Media operators get caught up with review policies that do not really serve the needs of the media. We have vastly different requirements when it comes to access to products, spokespeople and assets. I’m pleased to report that Bronte and the CampaignLab team not only understand this, they set a standard hard to match.

Bronte on duty with client Thrifty

First of all, Bronte is a joy to work with when it comes to product announcements. Often the timeline for gear is stretched, or broken up but other events that intervene. I’ve done this many times with Fujifilm cameras. I do not like rushing my reviews of cameras. It takes time for nature to deliver that great shot or for people to become available.

I’ve also gained greater knowledge and expertise when it comes to Fujifilm products (I used to develop Fujifilm in one of the word’s best labs back in the day) especially their cameras and lenses. Last week I was able to show my Sky News audience the hottest camera on the planet at the moment, the X100VI.

Fujifilm’s X100VI made an appearance with Djuro Sen Sky News Weekend Edition

One of the best interactions I’ve had with Bronte is during a shooting phase with Hertz and its EV rentals campaign. I was able to get access to Polestar 2 vehicles in Tasmania, Queensland, NSW and South Australia. But in Adelaide I had a problem. The EV didn’t have a enough range to make it to my destination, Whyalla. So, ten minutes after I called Bronte about my problem, a replacement ICE vehicle was ready to roll. Now that’s trouble shooting.

Hertz ev CAMPAIGN ON SKY NEWS WEEKEND EDITION

There are so many more great examples I could write about but that would take all day to read. Essentially, Bronte has been a fantastic operator, not just last month but over the last few years I’ve known her. The gang at CampaignLab know how to have a good time too. A lot of their functions are about fun and the message. Why not do both I say?

Bronte and the team enjoy their work

Here’s something you might not know about Bronte, she recently became a marriage celebrant. So if you’re looking to tie the knot, then drop Bronte a line at marriedbybronte.com.au.

Congratulations Bronte for being named our agency winner – February 2024.

BEST IN-HOUSE

The in-house PR/Comms job is a pressure position and one that can make or break a story.

So I’m extremely pumped to announce Steve Carey, General Manager Media, Telstra Corporate Affairs is BEST IN-HOUSE FEBRUARY 2024.

Steve Carey General Manager Media, Telstra Corporate Affairs

Despite being a Hawthorn supporter, Steve is a legend. He’s also one of the best in-house operators I’ve ever worked with, or against. Again, Steve knows the game and knows what I need for my audience and readers.

Last month Steve supplied crucial b-roll I was able to use to tell a very important, Temporary Disaster Roaming story on Sky News Weekend Edition.

Temporary Disaster Roaming was an important story that needed video b-roll support

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes the value that Steve brings to the media game in Australia. Let’s face it, it’s hard to make people like telcos. But Steve has the ability to bring communication stories to life.

Steve Carey helps set up our MWC coverage in Barcelona

So whether we’re in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress, or at Telstra’s Blue Tick Lab which is in a secret location, we always get a good yarn with pictures to match.

One of the most important aspects to Steve’s job is background briefing. Wireless communications is a technically challenging subject. But Steve makes sure that we all have a good understanding of the tech and the strategy behind it. He does this far better than everyone else.

Steve Carey at Telstra’s Blue Tick Lab

Steve also handles a crisis extremely well. When things go wrong, we can always rely on Steve to aim up with a Telstra heavy. He straddles the corporate and consumer worlds with ease and most of all … he’s a top bloke.. for a Hawks supporter.

Steve Carey celebrates Djuro Sen’s win at the Lizzies

Congratulations Steve, you thoroughly deserve this month’s award.

WHY IS IMAGE MATRIX TECH DOING THIS?

The process of creating great review videos can’t happen without the help of competent, energetic, sharp media relations comms people. They send out the info, supply the product and help answer our technical questions so we can better inform the public.

PR/Comms people are often easy targets. We want to change that.

So that’s why on the first day of every month, Image Matrix Tech will be acknowledging the best comms people and agencies we deal with for our tech coverage from the previous month.

Yes, there are bad ones but they’ll never get a mention in these awards.

It’s all about being positive.

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Communications

Temporary Disaster Roaming Takes Next Important Step

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Since March 2023, Telstra has been working with the government, TPG and Optus to develop a Temporary Disaster Roaming solution in Australia. And now an important milestone has been reached. TDR has been successfully tested in a simulation by Telstra as we show in the video above.

TDR is designed to keep us connected to any surviving mobile network during bushfires or floods.  If your network goes down, TDR will allow your phone to jump onto another network during the disaster. 

Overseas, countries such as Canada, Japan and the USA are developing or have implemented a form of temporary disaster roaming. And we really need it too.

Like most things in the wireless world, developing TDR is complex. Telstra has to take into account the stress it would put on any surviving network.

Last week Telstra ran a simulation at its 5G Innovation Centre on the Gold Coast. The team started with a device on a mock network, and then simulated that network going down due to a disaster.

Telstra then simulated the temporary disaster roaming functionality, which allowed the device to roam onto its network and connect. This successful simulation was an important step in development of TDR.

“While there are technical, process and financial challenges to overcome, the learnings from our simulation will help guide ongoing conversations with industry and government to help make this temporary disaster roaming solution a reality,” said Telstra Technology Development Innovation Executive Channa Seneviratne. 

This roaming solution is separate from the ability to call Triple Zero, which is already active.

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