Telstra put out a gushy press release today about how it will be supplying the communications gear for Oprah Winfrey's much-hyped visit to Australia with 300 guests next month. Based on Lifehacker's own considerable experience with Telstra's Next G services, here's some stuff team Oprah should keep an eye on.
Telstra will be offering Next G phone connections for the 300 Oprah viewers being flown over, each of whom gets their own Motorola Defy Android phone. Oprah's production crew will use the Ultimate USB modem for their Internet access needs, which means they'll get to try it in even more locations than Lifehacker did in our own multi-state test.
Telstra is also supplying a crew of helper minions (known as the Next G Angels) to deal with any issues that arise. Really all the inevitable stuff-ups are the Angels' problem now, but just in case, here's a helpful primer on a few points that will probably arise:
Make sure the driver software is the newest release: If you buy a Next G modem from a Telstra store, it's pretty much a given that the built-in software on the device will be out of date. One would hope that some poor Telstra slave has been forced to sit and update the devices for Oprah's crew before handing them out, but it might be worth double-checking.
Don't assume the speeds will be consistent. The Ultimate modem does offer really good speeds, but just how fast it is can vary a lot. That's not always a function of rural locations, either — some of the worst figures in our testing were in central Sydney. In other words: don't assume that backstage at the Opera House everything will be peachy.
Keep a close eye on the battery life. We love Android phones, but we're still waiting to see one with a really impressive battery life. If the US visitors indulge in endless texting and phone calls, there's likely to be a mad scramble for power outlets at every place they visit.
When all else fails If everyone ends up stuck in one of those corners of the Outback where even Next G just doesn't cut it, just remember it could be worse. You could be trying to use an iPhone anywhere in the US, for example. And if you really need some data connectivity from someone other than Telstra, there are plenty of short-term prepaid plans that will keep you going.