Optus staff were yesterday sent this pep talk from Noel Hamill, Director of Strategy & Marketing at Optus Business, ahead of Telstra’s big announcement: 

Team,

It is likely Telstra will formally announce the launch of its nationwide 3G network tomorrow. You will have seen the story in today’s Australian Financial Review – somewhat negative. As you are aware Optus is evaluating several options in regard to our national 3G and high speed access strategy – we are currently trialling HSDPA over 2100Mhz. Optus will make announcements shortly on our expansion plans for 3G.

The following points are important in the interim, and should be used in customer discussions.

Standards

  • In Europe, where 2100Mhz dominates, there are 650 million GSM users
  • In the USA, where 1900 / 850Mhz is offered by Cingular, there are 55 million GSM users
  • Telstra is the only carrier in Australia with 850Mhz spectrum, apart from AAPT who do not own a mobile network currently. Telstra is the only carrier in the world rolling out their 3G Networks using 2100Mhz & 850Mhz in combination. This will be a challenge for them in terms of handset availability.

Handsets

  • Telstra’s handset range will initially be limited to three consumer-grade models. This means no Nokia, Sony Ericsson, 02, Rim or Motorola devices are available. These are the models 95% of our customers buy today and will want in future. The global roadmap from manufacturers does not include many low to mid range 850Mhz handsets
  • Telstra’s existing 3G handsets and BlackBerry devices may not work on the new network
  • Cost of ownership with a non-dominant standard – businesses will pay more for 850Mhz handsets over time

International Roaming

  • 850Mhz handsets roaming will likely revert to 2G speeds so interoperability and business impacts are notable and need to be carefully considered.
    Key message: Telstra 3G to 2G in most foreign locations
  • Optus’ 3G roaming arrangements provide transparent coverage for our 2100Mhz customers. Key message: Optus 3G to 3G roaming where available

Peace of Mind

  • Today, Optus’ 3G mobile network extends to 37% of Australia ‘s population, with presence in the greater metropolitan areas of Sydney , Melbourne , Canberra , Brisbane , Adelaide and Perth as well as covering the Gold & Sunshine Coasts. Plans to extend 3G coverage to Gosford, Mornington Peninsula and the fringes of each of the capital cities metropolitan areas are underway and when completed in March 2007 will serve nearly 55% of the population.
  • However, and this is important, when outside of the 3G network coverage areas, customers will have the added security of automatically falling back to the existing Optus 2.5G (GSM/GPRS) mobile network which covers 96% of Australia ‘s population. Apart from supporting normal voice & SMS services, the 2.5G Network is perfect for customers who want to access most of the current data applications such as emails, picture messaging and telemetry type services whilst travelling regional roads, highways and smaller regional towns
  • Telstra’s 850mhz network is still unproven and has not yet passed acceptance testing.
  • Customers do not need to make decisions about CDMA replacement today. Telstra’s CDMA network will remain in place until at least January 2008

Yes, Telstra will blitz the market with the announcement of their “Next G” 3G network in the coming weeks. Be assured Optus will respond with a strong challenger position that makes sound, long-term sense for your customers!

Peter Fray

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