Mobiles face challenge of Olympic proportions

Telstra is predicting more than 250,000 people will be using mobile phones during the Sydney 2000 Games.

This is almost double the usage seen at the Nagano Winter Olympics last year, where mobile use doubled on that of the Summer Games in Atlanta.

According to John Hunter, Telstra's general manager for Sydney 2000 Network, supporting the expected huge mobile demands is one of the most challenging aspects of Telstra's role as communications network provider.

Network capacity and coverage issues are some of the problems facing the organisation, he said.

Hunter said while it is expected mobile networks from other carriers will be used to some extent, the Telstra networks will have most coverage and capacity.

During the 17-day period of the Games Telstra plans to operate two GSM networks, one on the 900MHz spectrum and one on the 1800MHz spectrum, its new CDMA network and a trunked mobile radio network to cater for all the mobile demands.

According to Hunter, Telstra is also faced with the challenge of being the first single supplier to provide all the communications networks required to run the Games.

Unlike the Atlanta Games in 1996, which saw a number of carriers providing different services such as long distance, cabling, local calls and mobile calls, Telstra will be the end-to-end supplier of all video, audio, telephony and data services across a universal network, Hunter said.

Testing of the communications networks will begin in September with cluster test events. Completion is scheduled for July 2000, allowing for last minute changes, Hunter said.

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