Telstra 3G mobile service goes live

Summary:updateTelstra today launched its third-generation (3G) mobile phone service, with a choice of four new handsets and two capped plans.The service will attempt to capitalise on the telco's AU$450 million network sharing deal with competitor Hutchison, which already has a substantial customer base, and represents the second such service to be launched down under.

updateTelstra today launched its third-generation (3G) mobile phone service, with a choice of four new handsets and two capped plans.

The service will attempt to capitalise on the telco's AU$450 million network sharing deal with competitor Hutchison, which already has a substantial customer base, and represents the second such service to be launched down under.

One of the service's key selling points will be the availability of richer content over the higher bandwidth it offers.

"These new high speed mobile services ... offer Telstra customers new video features, including video calling, video messagebank and video ring tones," said Telstra marketing executive Mike Robey in a statement.

"The launch of Telstra's new mobile service represents a major shift in the way our customers can communicate and access information on their mobile phone".

While Telstra customers are able to make video calls to Hutchison's '3' branded subscribers, whether the two will interoperate with impending video calling services from Optus and Vodafone is unclear.

Telstra has noted such interoperability will be technically possible when Optus and Vodafone launch their joint network later this year, but network interconnect agreements will be necessary to make it a reality.

Customers will have two options for accessing Telstra's 3G service. Its new 'Active' channel will deliver video content sites, video calling and video messagebank, while customers can also opt for the i-mode channel which has, since last November, provided online access to interactive multimedia applications like the WhereIs mapping service.

Telstra's service will operate between 200kbps and 300 kbps in capital cities (except Darwin and Hobart) in addition to the Gold Coast. 3G services outside these areas will be delivered on the company's existing -- but slower -- GSM network, which does not support video-based services.

Customers will be offered two capped plans (with the purchase of a 3G handset) at AU$49 and AU$79 a month. Telstra says the plans offer up AU$250 and AU$550 worth of standard voice calls, respectively. Both include a two-month free video call bonus.

Topics: Telcos, Mobility, Optus, Telstra

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