Early this week, Telstra Corp.'s $150 million upgraded mobile network passed its final test before the Olympic Games kick off tonight at Homebush Olympic Park.
Wednesday night's final dress rehearsal for the Opening Ceremony was a successful trial run of Telstra's mobile network, officials have revealed. According to Telstra officials, "most" MobileNet customers at Stadium Australia were able to make calls on their first try.
A record 250,000 calls were made on Telstra's mobile network during the night, with spectators contacting each other before and after the event. Anthony Goonan, Telstra's OnAir regional manager, said the carrier is expecting the most demanding times for the network to be when spectators arrive and leave Homebush Park, during breaks and as people make their way to transport.
In order to handle the heavy demand expected, Telstra has upgraded its mobile coverage and capacity at Olympic Park and the Sydney CBD. Traffic-monitoring technology that enables the network capacity to be moved around the Olympic Park as crowds move has been installed to cope with demand, Goonan said.
"As network load approaches high levels, Telstra can allocate additional capacity to high-load areas to reduce the level of disruption to customers. "Telstra will be able to draw on data from key elements of the network to provide visualised reports of network traffic in 'real time' as well as for analysis after the Opening Ceremony," he said.
Using this information, Telstra will be able to reconfigure and optimise the network according to demand.
However, despite the assurances, Goonan said he still expects spectators at tonight's Opening Ceremony to experience a short delay when making calls during peak times. "MobileNet customers are expected to be able to make calls first time, most of the time," he said.
Goonan also warned Telstra customers calling friends on non-Telstra networks that congestion may occur due to other networks being unable to match Telstra's network capacity.
Meanwhile, rival telco Optus yesterday launched its short message service (SMS) to pre-paid mobile customers, just in time for the Games.
During the Olympics, Optus Express, Ozitalk and Boost pre-paid customers will be able to send text messages at a rate of 20 cents per message. According to officials, customers will be notified of when the service is available on their handset via an SMS message.