Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Beyond 3G- or not RLY?

There's been a bunch of talk about Telstra's new "Next G" network since the launch*, and frankly I am about as impressed as a kid who got a bell instead of a bike for Xmas.

Here we are, November 4th 2006 and on Telstra's website they have: wait for it... six phones from five manufacturers. Any colour as long as it's black? In my time at Telstra, there was a lot of "training" on Next G (none of which I attended). There was even an NDA. One co-worker (read: wanker) said he couldn't tell me what was said as he had signed the NDA and that I would have to attend a training session myself. I tried to put it simply to him: what speeds and would there be video on demand. These are the only two things worth talking about. That's how I would have run training: "ok peeps: 3 Mbits a second down, 1 up. Foxtel for $12 a month- go sell it". Trust me when I say that my idea would have got more traction than the corporate speak hyperbole jingle fest that I am sure was run at the big T. Though, yes, I wasn't there.

Anyhoo: I seem to recall once saying of Telstra that "there will need to be more than just a fancy jingo and a series of cool new ads.".

Well, I'll be buggered. The Next G website is the absolute, down to the wire, spot on, bang up, like-they-were-reading-my-mind example of "a fancy jingo and a series of cool new ads" type website. It would have to rate as the most nothing website in the history of nothing websites. Oh sure it talks about "outcomes" for Next G users, but at its core, this site is as shallow as a baby's wading pool in a drought.

Then there's this "unofficial" post from a Telstra Whirlpool user:
What will the speed be like?At launch, customers with HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) capable data cards and modems, will be able to access faster data download speeds (expected user average of 550kbps to 1.5Mbps), on NEXT G™, bursting up to 3Mbps, with a peak network speed of 3.6Mbps (downlink). HSDPA will provide data speeds three to five times faster than the current 3G2100 network. In the uplink customers will experience speeds bursting up to 384kbps.

Planned improvements during 2007 will increase the peak network speed of NEXT G™ to 14.4Mbps (downlink) and 5.8Mbps (uplink) further improving the expected average speeds experienced by customers.

As with EVDO today, actual user speeds, both downlink and uplink, will vary depending on user location, network capacity, mobile device used, transmission direction and external constraints (such as the application in use).

This last paragraph will be the one that customer relations, marketing, media relations etc will hang their hat on when the network turns out to be as fast as a tortoise on heroin. In fact, I just wrote the press release in my head. It starts "While telstra endeavours to deliver the best possible outcomes for its customers..."

There is a follow up comment on Whirlpool, with a response from the Telstra Phantom:
May i suggest putting this info on the site?!?

All in good time grasshopper, all in good time.

It is all part of a structured marketing approach to launch. It's just that most Whirlpool users are an inquisitive lot .... + slightly cynical ;-) and generally ahead of the market norm.

Translation: Hype first, disappointment later.

Lets get back to speeds. Slashdot sez:

Slashdot | Beyond 3G — Practical Cellular Internet Access:
"High-Speed Downlink Packet Access, or HSDPA, and it has started appearing on wireless networks operated by companies such as Vodaphone in Europe and Cingular Wireless in the U.S. Meanwhile, South Korea's Samsung has even started building HSDPA-ready phones. The technology promises wireless speeds as high as 3.6 Mbps but in practice will be much slower than that — fast enough, though, to make wirelessly surfing the Web and downloading music and video well worth the effort.'"

Worth the effort? Perhaps- unless you are going to market HSDPA as an alternative to broadband in remote areas. Unless you are going to promote HSDPA as an alternative to FTTN. Then you have a problem, because with ADSL II ruling the roost, speeds under 10mbits are going to look like dial up.

Ahhh Next G. Next Grab for your money.

*I'd like to straight up apologise for setting off the fire spriklers. It was Cam Reilley's idea to fly up and do it, and while it seemed funny and ironic, it seems it was only funny.**

**none of this is true. Apoart from it being funny. Very funny.


posted by thr at 10:06 pm


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me guess. You were working in the Telstra call centre, applied for a job in marketing, got rejected, and have now decided to wreak your vengeance?

Seriously mate. How can you not look at Next g and think it's a f%%#ing impressive service?

As for the website - show me something from Optus, Vodafone, 3 or whoever that is more impressive? For Telstra, I think it's bloody innovative.

12/06/2006 11:35 pm  

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