commentary Sol Trujillo's winning smile may be slightly forced this Friday
when the Telstra chief executive attempts to deliver the good
news about Telstra's massive transformation strategy to
One of the jewels in that crown -- Telstra's fledgling
nation-wide 850Mhz 3G mobile network -- is today looking a little
faded after a significant announcement by rival Vodafone.
In a little more than two weeks, Vodafone will switch on an
upgrade that will immediately allow its own 3G network to deliver
data download speeds of up to 1.8Mbps.
This technology -- known as High-Speed Downlink Packet Access
(HSDPA) is also at the heart of Telstra's new 3G network.
Now Vodafone has so far has only enabled the increased speeds
in selected Sydney and Melbourne metro areas. Telstra's new 3G
network will be significantly larger. In addition, Telstra
already sells a comparable mobile broadband service based on
CDMA/EVDO technology that delivers typical speeds between
300-600kbps, with a limit of 2.4Mbps.
But the Vodafone launch will still allow one of Telstra's
biggest rivals to say it got there first on HSDPA.
This is a situation remarkably similar to that currently being
faced by Telstra in the fixed broadband market.
Telstra's chief operations officer Greg Winn has admitted the
telco has a "substantial footprint" of ADSL2+ technology, but the
upgraded speeds thus allowed have not so far been offered to
This is despite the fact that rivals like iiNet, Internode and
now Optus have been selling ADSL2+ services for some time.
Telstra has previously said construction of its new 3G network
was more than 75 percent complete. So why hasn't the technology
been switched on yet?
One potential reason is that if it switches on better fixed
and mobile broadband technology, Telstra could be forced by the
national competition regulator to provide wholesale access to
Indeed, The Australian newspaper reported this week
that Optus would seek access to Telstra's new 3G network.
However from a customer point of view, one wonders why Telstra
puts new technology in place if it's not willing to make it
available to customers.
Is Telstra's technology strategy good business
sense or misguided? Drop me a line directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or post your opinion below this article.