Sol Trujillo, CEO Telstra and Carl-Henric Svanberg, President and CEO Ericsson, switched on the new NEXT G(TM) (3GSM 850 MHz) network with video calls to locations across Australia, including Thursday Island, South Port, Cape Byron and Broome.
Trujillo said Telstra shareholders' AUSD 1 billion investment in the world's geographically largest national 3GSM network delivers unequaled customer reach and speed across the country and is globally acknowledged as a superior spectrum for breadth and depth of coverage.
NEXT G is more than 100 times bigger geographically than any other 3GSM network in Australia, delivering voice and broadband services to 98 percent of the population.
Trujillo said: "This is an exciting day for all Australians, no matter where they live and work. No one else, here or abroad, has built and launched such a far-reaching, high speed, wireless broadband network in less than a year. It is a versatile, high capacity network with head room for higher speeds in the months and years ahead."
"The opportunities are vast, including service improvements in health and education, productivity improvements in business everywhere, and a competitive advantage for Telstra," he added.
Turbo charged with High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA), NEXT G is more than 50 times faster than dial-up and up to five times faster than other 3GSM networks. Telstra customers will experience network download speeds averaging 550 kbps to 1.5 Mbps, and peak network speeds of up to 3.6Mbps, increasing up to 14.4Mbps early next year.
Svanberg said Telstra's advanced mobile broadband network was designed and built with an evolution path to support the future technology roadmap. Ericsson expected it to reach peak network speeds of up to 40 Mbps by 2009, in line with the development of global standardization.
Trujillo said NEXT G(TM) is an integral part of Telstra's plan to bring broadband to all Australians, no matter where they live, and to transform Telstra into a media communications powerhouse.
"It is a fast, simple, interactive and content rich wireless broadband service that integrates the worlds of communication, information and entertainment," he said.
"We have created a unique 'My Place' menu to give our customers easy, 1-click access to nine services and applications that are most relevant to them. With a simple "1-touch, 1-click" our customers can access FOXTEL, Sensis search, BigPond content, music, email, photos, downloads, maps and My Account information."
In an Australian first, customers can:
#Watch 12 channels of FOXTEL exclusively on their NextG handset, including news, sport, wildlife documentaries, and children's programs, with more to come.
#Access Telstra's award winning BigPond Mobile service offering entertainment, news, and exclusive content including AFL, NRL, and V8 Supercars.
#Watch Warner Bros. classic movies and the BBC's best television programs on their PCs through the BigPond Movie Download service.
#Download a music track to both their mobile and computer in 1-click; and
#Benefit from Telstra's 'locate me' technology which matches their location with their information request through Sensis services such as CitySearch, WhereIs, Trading Post and Yellow Mobile.
As part of the global community of 3GSM operators, serving over two billion users, NEXT G has one of the world's best international roaming footprints. Not only can Telstra customers make voice calls on their Australian NEXT G mobile phone in more than 140 countries, but can access 3G services such as video calling and high speed data in 30 countries.
Telstra customers can make voice calls on their Australian mobile phone in more places while traveling overseas than on any other Australian network.
Next G customers will be able to install a Next G turbo card into their computer, providing high-speed access to the Internet for business, entertainment, or personal applications, such as browsing the web or email.
The Next G turbo card will be especially useful for business customers, permitting high speed data access across Australia and 30 countries around the world, advancing the way enterprises operate, making them more cost effective, productive and internationally competitive.
"Teleworkers at remote locations using wireless broadband and video conferencing will be able to access information traditionally stored in the office almost instantaneously while they are on the road, at their customer's premises or in the back of a taxi heading to the airport," Trujillo said.
Telstra has been working with leading handset manufacturers, including Sony Ericsson, Samsung and Motorola, to produce an impressive Next G roadmap of approximately 30 devices that will be available over the next 18 months. At launch we have four mobiles (Samsung A701 and A501, ZTE F850/51 and LGTU500), one PDA (i-mate Jas Jam) and one data card (GT Max), with Motorola next month and Palm releasing soon after.
Telstra and Ericsson will continue to extend network coverage and upgrade software for faster speeds throughout next year in readiness for the closure of the CDMA network in 2008, when Next G coverage will be as good, or better than currently available with the older CDMA technology.