Home Mobility MCG comms upgrade will make the 'G' mobile device ‘friendly’

The Telstra-led upgrade of the 3G and 4G mobile network at the MCG will help transform the iconic venue into the “most connected” stadium in the southern hemisphere, according one of the telco’s senior executives.

Mike Wright, Group Managing Director, Networks at Telstra said that hundreds of thousands of spectators that watch Australian Rules Football or cricket at the MCG each year will be able to use their mobile device inside the stadium and the surrounding car park “just like they do on the rest of Telstra’s network”.

“Whether its round one of the AFL season, Grand Final Day, or it’s the Boxing Day Test Match – spectators will enjoy the sort of experience they expect when they use their mobile device to stream video, browse the internet, upload photos to social media, receive and make telephone calls or access content on the AFL Live pass.

“The world class upgrade also means the MCG is future ready for the next generation of mobile technologies that will enhance the viewers’ experience, such as LTE-Broadcast. This would give customers access to dedicated video streaming such as the different camera feeds from the game.

According to Telstra, the upgrade is the culmination of two years of hard work which required an innovative design to accommodate the core infrastructure and an extraordinary amount of technology needed to connect up to 100,000 fans.  

“To put it into context, it’s the equivalent of providing network coverage for Ballarat and Shepparton – towns with a combined population of more than 100,000 people spread across nearly 400 square kilometres - but compressed within the confines of the MCG, Wright said.

Wright said the design at the MCG involves 430 antennas strategically positioned around the stadium, more than 33 kilometres of antenna cabling, and 132 transmission modules which deliver the largest spectral deployment of carrier frequencies in any stadium in the southern hemisphere.

The antennas connect the spectators’ devices in the stadium to a new hub at the North Melbourne Exchange two kilometres away via an optical fibre link, and onto the global network, giving spectators at the MCG a much improved mobile experience.

“The upgrade is further proof of Telstra’s commitment to providing its customers with the best AFL experience on mobile. It follows the announcement earlier this month that eligible Telstra consumer mobile customers (excluding pre-paid and some small business plans) and customers on a small business mobile plan can access the AFL Live Pass in their plan,” Wright said.

“The AFL Live Pass lets you watch every AFL match live through the AFL Live App on a compatible mobile. Plus you get full match replays and access to AFL TV on mobile, tablet and desktop.

“So, no matter where you’re sitting at the MCG, whether it’s the top deck of The Great Southern Stand or you’re deep in the bowels of the Members’ Stand, the main competition that will take place will be on the arena.”


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).


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