Today, Telstra is giving away unlimited free data to all mobile customers to make up for March's first network outage (there was another, smaller outage later in the same month.) Here's what you need to know about getting — and maximising — your free data.
Last month's network snafu was caused when disconnected customers were all reconnected at the same time, which caused congestion to the network. The connection problem began overseas with international roaming customers before flowing on to the domestic network.
"On behalf of everyone at Telstra, I am very sorry and deeply disappointed this happened," Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said in a statement. "You expect seamless mobile service with Telstra and it is our responsibility to ensure that is delivered day in, day out." the telco explained in a statement."
The good news is that everybody is getting free data today to make up for the inconvenience. During its previous "Free Data" day, Telstra customers churned through a whopping 1841 terabytes; the equivalent of around 5.1 million episodes of Game of Thrones. It was reportedly the busiest day on the network ever. Its our duty to exceed this number by as much as possible. Here's how to go about it.
Step 1: Check if you're eligible
The free data day is available to all Telstra mobile customers until 12am tonight. This includes Telstra Mobile Broadband and BigPond Mobile Broadband customers. In other words, it's not just mobile phone users who are eligible.
Step 2: Ensure your WiFi is disabled
This might sound like a no-brainer, but you need to ensure that your mobile devices are actually connected to the Telstra network — otherwise you might end up using your home broadband and/or public Wi-Fi by accident.
If you're using a device powered by a Telstra SIM card, simply switch Wi-Fi off in the user settings. This will force the device to revert to the Telstra network. For non-SIM devices such as laptops, make sure they're wirelessly connected to your Telstra phone, tablet or mobile modem. (More on this below.)
Step 3: Tweak your settings
You may need to change the user settings on your device to allow downloads over mobile networks. Failure to do this will result in large mobile downloads being suspended until you connect to a wireless network. Usually this is a good thing, but today you want zero restrictions.
Step 4: Connect all your devices
To get laptops, tablets, consoles and other connected devices in on the action, you'll want to set up a mobile hotspot using your Telstra phone. (You can find detailed instructions for Android, iOS and Windows Phone devices here, here and here, respectively.)
Step 5: Go bananas!
You now have until midnight to churn through as much mobile data as humanly possible. While pirates will be netting as many HD movies as they possibly can, we don't recommend this course of action at Lifehacker. Apart from being legally dubious, there's a pretty high chance that content rights holders will be watching today's torrent activity with keen interest. The next Dallas Buyers Club fiasco could very well stem from today's digital free-for-all.
Instead, stick to an all-day entertainment buffet from your streaming service of choice, punctuated by mobile software updates and downloads. If you're a console gamer, be sure to snap up some massive game downloads via the aforementioned hot spot trick. (Just make sure the download finishes before the clock strikes midnight!)
If any readers have suggestions of their own about how best to max out your data, share them in the comments!