Tuesday 31 January 2023

Optus' Living Network

Optus launched their Living Network in May 2021 and its certainly a most innovative venture. Unlike previous networks, this was described as an evolved network. Designed to be dynamic and 'customer-centric' to suit the unique needs of each customer by offering a range of service features and initiatives in areas such as advanced connectivity, security, productivity, environmental sustainability and social causes.


The Living Network features are available to Optus customers from the MyOptus App and include Unlimited Data Days, Donate Your Data, Optus Pause, WiFi Secure, Game Path, Call Translate, Call Notes, Optus Pulse and SideKick. Optus has also categorised it’s Living Network features by Digital Wellbeing, Adaptive Network and Advanced Voice.

One aspect of Digital Wellbeing is closing the digital divide and promoting sustainability. Donate your data is a way to help close the digital divide for people in need get a prepaid SIM with data plus unlimited calls and SMS every 42 days. Every month, Optus data donations are pooled and then distributed as an added data boost to those who need it. Optus postpaid customers can donate a portion of their monthly data via the MyOptus App. Prepay customers on select tariffs can also donate a portion of their data. The operator has partnered with a number of charities to deliver this service to people experiencing economic hardship from a job loss, family or other tragedy.

Optus claim over 28 million GB of data has been donated since December 2019. The donated data helps individuals (and since 2021) helps families in need to access vital education, employment, and other services.

At the launch of the Living Network Optus CEO, Kelly Bayer stated that the program had so far assisted over “14,000 young Australians in need” and attributed the initiative to achieving an NPS that was “off the charts” highlighting that customers felt empowered by the Living Network to shrink the digital divide and make a difference to others lives.


Meanwhile an inventive aspect of the Adaptive Network is Game Path. This service reduces lag by 30% (as well as jitter by an average 71%) when gaming by accessing multiple local and international points of presence (POPs) and using AI to select the optimal connection path however, manual server selection is also possible. The service which is activated via the MyOptus app is only available on windows PCs and costs AUD $10 per month with one-month waiver. Optus internet gamers may receive a three-month waiver. Optus provides a table highlighting the performance improvement customers can expect by game and city based on a sample size (gaming session snapshot) in time but highlight actual performance may still vary.

A feature that enhances customer productivity within the Advanced voice services is Optus Call Translate. This translates voice calls in real-time between two people speaking two different languages to each other. Effectively and as promoted by Optus, the service is “turning two languages into one conversation”. The service is currently available in 19 languages and is built, owned and operated by Optus using Google Cloud (API) for the translation element. While the service was initially trailed in a beta mode with select customers, it is now available to postpay customers (including business) at a cost of AUD $5 per month with a seven-day trial period. The service is activated from the My Optus App along with translation settings such as the “to” and “from” language setting. When a customer calls a number using the translate feature, before the call conversation starts – both parties will hear an announcement saying that the Call Translate is in use. Optus customers can use the service to call overseas, and they can also use it abroad so long as they are roaming on a VoLTE network.

In highlighting the usefulness of the service, Optus points to the multi-lingual country and five million people (20% of Australians) of which English isn’t their first language. Such a service might be valuable when interacting with others to perform everyday functions such as booking a medical appointment.

Other operators have certainly been inspired some of these services and strategies and also launched some of the features seen in the Living Network, in particular drawing on the environment, sustainability and social responsibility as a way to increase relevance, drive an emotional connection and  increase engagement with existing customers and potentially augment their subscriber bases.

Related Posts

Tuesday 24 January 2023

AT&T and AST SpaceMobile plan to extend coverage for consumers, businesses & first responders

AT&T has been working with the satellite pioneer AST SpaceMobile for a white as reported by Light Reading back in 2020. In a new video, AT&T gives AST SpaceMobile a big, public shoutout. The video is embedded below.

The following is from CNET article:

T-Mobile has partnered with SpaceX to boost its coverage through SpaceX's Starlink satellite network. Verizon has been talking about working with Amazon's Project Kuiper program. Now AT&T has announced a new satellite partner of its own. 

On Tuesday the carrier announced a new partnership with AST SpaceMobile, a satellite company, to use its low Earth orbit satellites to help bolster AT&T's terrestrial coverage. In a video about the partnership, Chris Sambar, AT&T's president of network, says that the wireless carrier has received "conditional approval" to use some of its wireless spectrum to connect cell phones to the satellites. 

In the video, Sambar quickly goes through a few broad applications ranging from helping its FirstNet first-responder network to business applications like "remote agriculture" and "remote machinery." 

AT&T already has a satellite partnership with satellite company OneWeb to offer connections to the wireless carrier's business users but hadn't announced any consumer-focused satellite service. 

Sambar does, however, hint at a possible consumer application as he describes how his mother-in-law's drive from rural Virginia to Richmond to "see her kids and grandkids" includes a road that currently struggles for coverage from "any wireless carrier." That drive, he says, could potentially be covered by a "space-based mobile solution." 

AT&T tells CNET that it plans to use the service to offer "integrated, complementary and real connectivity from satellite-based solutions for voice, data and video services." 

As for device support, AT&T says the service is "intended to integrate with all of our customers' devices using LTE and 5G broadband on our existing mobile network." The carrier, however, says it is "too early" to say if it will charge extra for the service or include it with customers' existing plans. 

As for when AT&T and AST SpaceMobile's service might start to appear, AST SpaceMobile has previously talked about testing its "direct-to-cell satellite capabilities" during the first quarter of next year before launching its first five commercial satellites in "late 2023." AT&T plans to join this testing in the first quarter. 

Scott Wisniewski, chief strategy officer at AST SpaceMobile, tells CNET in a statement that after the launch of those satellites next year it will be able to "offer intermittent broadband services in 2024." 

Light Reading article points out:

The video is noteworthy because AT&T is one of the biggest wireless network operators in the world, and Sambar controls a large part of the operator's multibillion-dollar network spending budget. The fact that he made a five-minute support video for SpaceMobile will likely go a long way toward convincing regulators and investors to provide both the necessary approvals for SpaceMobile's satellite launch plans as well as the money it will take to get the company's satellites into low-Earth orbit (LEO).

It would be interesting to see how all these satellite connectivity complementing the terrestrial networks and connectivity work out. There is a huge potential but the path towards that is a really tough one.

Related Posts

Friday 6 January 2023

Dialog Launches First Immersive Metaverse, Futureverse, in Sri Lanka

We may not yet have a firm definition of Metaverse but that hasn't stopped operators launching their own Metaverse. Sri Lanka's Dialog is the latest operator to announce their 'Futureverse'. The press release noted:

Continuing to spearhead technology firsts in the country and the region, Dialog Axiata PLC, launched ‘Futureverse’ – Sri Lanka’s first fully immersive, interactive and experiential Metaverse where people can shop for Dialog products and services, socialize, attend events, and play games in one persistent virtual world.

Futureverse is an immersive and interactive virtual world where users can create their own custom avatars. This virtual world will enable visitors access to all Dialog products and services available at any Dialog Experience Centre, socialize with friends, watch movies, take part in workshops, visit exhibitions, and more. Powered by immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and extended reality (XR), the Futureverse, from Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, extends a seemingly borderless digital realm that delivers endless experiences and possibilities, where visitors can experience a unique virtual world filled with abstract landscapes and objects. Futureverse is a fun way to spend free time while interacting with friends virtually through voice or chat.

If you do not know the difference between AR, VR, MR and XR, we suggest you check out our short video here. The following is a video of Futureverse from Dialog:

With MWC just around the corner, we will see a lot more of Metaverse action in the coming weeks and months.

Related Posts