History of Australian telecommunications

A seemingly dry, technical paper from 1937 in the Telecommunications Journal of Australia offers much broader interest following the popularity of the 2010 film ‘The King’s Speech’.

The King's Speech, History of Australian telecommunications, TJA

Two papers from the Telecommunications Journal of Australia in 1956 and 1960 respectively. The first provides an overview of public telephone cabinets in Australia and the second describes the state of the art, aluminium public telephone cabinet.

History of Australian telecommunications, public telephones

A 1945 technical paper from the Telecommunications Journal of Australia is revisited that describes the timing and signalling equipment used at the Melbourne Observatory between 1853 and 1945. The equipment was used to provide the Victorian Time Signal Service for over ninety years.

History of Australian telecommunications, time signal service

Four historical vignettes are provided from the period 1875 to 1880 from the Proceedings of the Telegraph Electrical Society of Victoria – the lineal antecedent of today’s TelSoc (Australian Telecommunications Society).

History of electrical telegraphy, Kelly Gang, History of telecommunications

An unusual historic paper from 1966 where the Post Master General’s Headquarters Lines Section collaborated with the Department of the Army to subject aluminium distribution cabinets to ballistics testing ahead of possible rural deployment.

History, Distribution cabinets, TJA

This year is the 30th anniversary of Telecom Australia's launch of the cellular mobile service in Australia. There has been a huge evolution in mobile services since then.

The Postmaster-General's Department (PMG) introduced a manually (operator) connected mobile service in Australia in 1950. As this service approached full capacity, Telecom launched a Public Automatic Mobile Telephone Service (PAMTS) in 1981. The PAMTS service had no future technology evolution, a 12 year life, and reached a peak of 14,000 customers.

By 1985 a small engineering team had developed a cellular mobile service concept based on the Analogue Mobile Phone Service (AMPS) standard. Development was accelerated and refined and the service was launched in 1987, arguably two and perhaps three years late.

This is the story of the development and launch of the service and the growth over the first four years to 1991.

Noting the experience of cellular operators in the USA, Canada and the UK, Telecom's mobile service concept was a "gold standard" for cellular services around the world, and the service achieved one of the fastest growth rates in its early years.

Within four years it was a cash flow powerhouse, and one of only three services within Telecom that were profitable; the others were the basic telephone service and directory publishing.

When transferred to Telstra in 1992 it was a strategically strong, highly profitable business prepared to defend against competition being introduced into the Australian telecommunications market, and was a foundation of Telstra's financial strength for the next 30 years.

Australian telecommunications, mobile communications, Telecom Australia
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