Mr Penn zei Picture: William West

The technical ‘transition’ that must happen

The new generation of mobile technology is fast approaching and Andy Penn, CEO of Telstra, is deploying the future of his company – and probably his job.

The arrival of 5G technology promises to revolutionize all types of industries and gives you more mobile data than what you can poke at.

This week, Australia is organizing a meeting of the international mobile technology standardization body and hundreds of industry experts at a Gold Coast event to make the crucial decisions when setting the international standards that support 5G networks.

“It will be an important milestone this week,” Telstra CEO Andy Penn told “These guys confirm the standards, which will really be the first commercial standards for 5G.”

The industry has high expectations of the next generation of mobile technology, expecting it to unlock a series of new consumer and business applications that can redeem telcos. Telstra leads the attack with Optus hot on his heroes, while a proposed merger between Vodafone and TPG is likely to lead to a new challenger in the 5G race.


The jump from 2G to 3G took us further than just calling and texting and made data consumption possible on smartphones that we now take for granted, although it was unclear at the time why that was such a valuable idea.

Due to the explosion of data with the rise of data-hungry apps and HD mobile streaming on 4G networks, the same debate did not exist around the need for 5G. Mobile technology acceptance has also increased – it took four years for 4G to reach 2.5 billion people, compared to eight years for 3G.

“If we look to the future and look at the phenomenal growth in demand for streaming and data volumes over the network, telcos will certainly not be able to cope with this technology transition,” Penn said.

However, the enormous increase in capacity is expected to pave the way for a large number of applications that have not yet been invented. For the Telstra boss it is a matter of building and they will come.

“First, we have 10 times more capacity for lower costs per bit of data. It will enable more media and better quality media, “he said.

“The second point is that it’s faster and drastically reduces latency. So for things that require a very fast response time, such as robotics, autonomous driving or even in consumer games, the latency will become important there. ”

When 5G and 5G-compatible smartphones roll out seriously sometime in the course of next year, consumers will be able to enjoy super-fast downloads, streaming and high-quality gaming and improvements in emerging trends such as augmented reality. 5G will also support advances in robotics and be vital for autonomous vehicles.

Voor mobiel streamen, mobiel gamen en augmented reality zal 5G floreren. Afbeelding: Indranil Mukherjee

5G will flourish for mobile streaming, mobile gaming and augmented reality. Image: Indranil Mukherjee Source: AFP


We are still in the initial phase of rolling out the 5G, but Telstra has been aggressive in the pursuit of milestones. Recently it reached the world’s first end-to-end 5G non-stand-alone data call on a commercial mobile network and in August it switched on the Gold Coast 5G site despite the complete lack of commercially available 5G devices – a move that Mr. Penn said that robust testing outside the lab would be possible if the equipment was available.

The company’s 5G rollout is supported by around $ 5 billion in mobile network investments over the three years from 30 June 2019. It is all part of Mr. Penn’s long-term claim that Telstra should be a “world-class technology company” to meet the requirements set on a modern telco provider.

‘Nothing has changed philosophically from my point of view. It is only about what the future of the future should be, “he said.

“5G is very important, but it doesn’t come naturally. 5G arrives at the same time as software-defined networks, big data analysis, machine learning, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT). It is all these technologies that come together and that will make a transforming difference. “

Andy Penn, CEO van Telstra, bezorgt de jaarresultaten van het bedrijf op het hoofdkantoor in Melbourne. Foto: Aaron Francis

Andy Penn, CEO of Telstra, provides the company’s annual results at its headquarters in Melbourne. Photo: Aaron Francis Source: News Corp Australia

The new generation of mobile technology is because more and more consumer goods and devices are connected to networks. “5G is being built for a world where millions, if not billions, will be connected sensors and devices that are not handsets or tablets,” Penn said.

Last month, Telstra unveiled its first range of consumer products that will try to use this new IoT world. The upcoming tracking and monitoring products are designed so that Telstra customers can track the location of their valuables such as their wallets, pets, toolboxes or cars from their smartphone.

Although Mr. Penn thinks IoT can add value for consumers, most industry use cases occur. “On the enterprise side, we do a lot of logistics, mining, smart meters, agri-tech and other sectors,” he said.

For example, networked monitoring and tracking systems can help drought farmers in Australia better manage their crops or animals in conditions where resource efficiency is paramount.

“I was in Dubbo last week with a farmer and he’s already using quite a lot of sensor-based technology to manage his agriculture more efficiently,” Penn said. “I think the thing about agriculture, indeed every industry today, is that they all compete on a global scale, no matter how local the business is, so agritech is really important area and 5G will be important to the evolution of that industry. “

Mr Penn zei Picture: William West

Mr. Penn said Image: William West Source: AFP


In his keynote speech at the Gold Coast event this morning, the Telstra boss brutally reminded those present to the importance of the four-day event, pointing to a study that predicts that by 2035 5G US $ 12 trillion in economic output will allow worldwide and support around 22 million jobs.

But before that can happen, the industry standards that ensure global compatibility must be removed. Australia’s strong role in this process will ensure that our unique circumstances – namely a large land mass and a small population – do not stop us.

“We have a number of demographic and topographical features that affect Australia. Simply put, we are a very large country with a small population and getting some of the challenges created for mobile technology integrated into the standards means that radio access equipment and the devices being manufactured work more efficiently in an environment such as Australia , “Mr. Penn said.

‘For example, if the coverage range is optimized at a greater distance, then that is good for Australia, because we have the challenge of traveling longer distances. Historically this was not the case (standard optimization). ”

The Telstra chief trusts that telco is one of the best positioned in the world to benefit from 5G and said Telstra customers could be one of the first to experience the benefits.

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