Telstra has today announced the deployment of a Narrowband Internet of Things (IoT) network in Australia to offer a new connectivity platform for devices that will drive the future of business in Australia.

Following hot on the heels of Vodafone’s Narrowband IoT network launch in October last year Telstra is now offering Narrowband covering in major cities and regional towns.  This is on top of the Cat M1 IoT network launched by the telco last year, making Telstra one of the first in the world to offer both methods of connectivity.

Speaking of the network, Telstra CEO Andy Penn told EFTM “(it) enables you to connect millions of small static devices that don’t use a lot of data, and do it very cheaply”

When asked about the potential cost to users of the network access per device Mr Penn suggested Narrowband IoT has a distinctly different purpose;  “These are the sort of products that are very much targeted at business customers” going on to say “Agriculture is a really good example, a lot of distributed sensors in a field, low battery usage, long life and that whole solution such as monitoring irrigation, livestock and information coming in would be sold as a service rather than a fee for any particular device”

At the same time Telstra is partnering with Government to develop future IoT development with a new IoT lab to be established in Launceston, Tasmania to fuel start-up work there in the IoT space.

While speaking to EFTM, Andy Penn noted that the move to 5G was also fast approaching “we are hosting 3GPP which is the 5G global standard setting body on the Gold Coast in September of this year, and I reckon that will be a pivital meeting where a lot of the early standards will be agreed”

Mr Penn noted there will be lots of trials of 5G this year “we’ve already been doing trials of 5G” and when pressed about when 5G would launch he noted that “in fact, I think we’ll start to see commercial launches in 2019”

On the question of why consumers should care about 5G Andy Penn said “with the amount of data we’re using today is growing so significantly, and the current technology simply can’t keep up with that”