We’ve upgraded Samsung’s Galaxy S II, claims Telstra


The nation’s largest telco Telstra has justified its late launch of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S II handset this month by stating it has made a number of improvements to the device which won’t appear when customers buy the high-level handset from other carriers.

Both Vodafone and Optus (as well as its subsidiary Virgin) have had the new Samsung handset available in the Australian market for a number of weeks. With a speedy dual-core CPU, a sensitive 4.3″ touchscreen running at a resolution of 480×800, 8 megapixel rear and 2 megapixel front cameras and a slew of other features — such as support for 21Mbps HSPA speeds on 3G mobile networks, the Galaxy S sits alongside similar models such as the upcoming HTC Sensation at the top of the pile of high-end smartphones being launched in Australia this year.

In its review of the phone, Engadget noted it “might well be the best smartphone, period”.

In a statement today, Telstra noted it would start selling the Galaxy S II from 26 July — six weeks after Vodafone and a solid eight weeks after the device went on sale through Optus. “Many of you have asked why Telstra has released the Galaxy S II a little later than the competition,” Telstra added. “One of the reasons is that Telstra rigorously tests smartphones before they are launched onto our network. That means that our phones are not just compatible with our 850Mhz Next G network – they’re optimised to run on it.”

The telco said that a number of improvements would therefore appear on its variant of the Galaxy S II, ranging from better sensitivity on the 850MHz band, reducing instances of call drops and delivering improved data speeds, better user interface performance and responsiveness, better data throughput rates when the phones is used as a tethered modem on some operating systems and improved attachment handling through the phone’s email client.

In addition, Telstra noted its models of the phone would see improved stability when used as a Wi-Fi hotspot, and highlighted the fact that the Galaxy S II would be one of the few phones on its network to take advantage of its recent launch of high-definition voice calling.

“As a general rule Telstra puts new smartphones through three test cycles,” the telco said. “We do this because we know you expect the best from your new purchase. We’re told by handset manufactures that it’s one of the most compete testing regimes anywhere in the world. At the conclusion of each test cycle we ask our vendor partners to resolve any significant issues identified. These improvements eventually comprise a Next G-optimised software package that runs the phone. Sometimes it will also result in hardware changes.”

For example, the better sensitivity to the 850MHz band was achieved by asking Samsung to tune the calibration of the Galaxy S II’s antenna, “based on Telstra’s test results”. Telstra also appears to have installed its own custom applications on the handset, including access to content from its Foxtel joint venture, for example (see screenshot, right).

The Galaxy S II will be available through Telstra stores, dealers and online from 26 July. The company will offer it on a number of plans, including its $59 Freedom Connect plan, which comes will see customers pay an addition $20 per month over 24 months towards their new handset. The phone will also be available on a $79 Business Maximiser plan with an additional $15 per month handset repayment, or it can be purchased outright for $840.

Other options for buying the phone range from plans as low as $39 per month up to $129, with Optus, Vodafone or Virgin. Additionally, the phone can also be bought from stand-alone retailers online or even from resellers on eBay.

Image credit: Samsung, Telstra


  1. From that last graphic I’d say they’ve been spending the time loading on all their own crap – just like Optus does.

  2. All this means is they’ve been screwing with the antenna firmware.

    Would be interesting to get a Telstra tweaked s2 and put a voda sim in it and see if performance any better than a voda s2 on the voda network

  3. On another note though, guy at work has an Atrix through Telstra and being able to watch Foxtel on it is all kinds of awesome.

  4. and more comments.

    I really wish other Telcos would start offering 12 month contracts.

  5. “including its $59 Freedom Connect plan, which comes will see customers pay an addition $20 per ”

    Interesting, I think this plan is the $550 calls and 1.5Gb data yeah?

    I know you get the Telstra network but I’m paying exactly the same with vodafone for a 12 month contract but for $500 worth of calls…..

  6. Telstra is ‘optimising’ the handset for its network? O RLY? Surely this is just a euphamism for putting seven-kinds-of-sh… shovelware onto the handset. Because that’s what Android lets them do (for better or worse). Does Telstra ‘optimise’ the iPhone for its network?

      • I like it that Dictator Jobs doen’t allow carriers to stuff with Apple’s handsets. It means a uniform experience with no added skins, useless unremovable apps or bloatware. I’d far rather vanilla Gingerbread on most of the Android phones out there too (or at least the option to select it) rather than Sense or Touchwiz etc.

        I prefer to customise and tweak my phone myself, which is why jailbreaking and rooting is a mandatory procedure :)

        Having said that these performance improvements Telstra are claiming sound interesting. But unless you can get an imported Galaxy S II without the Telstra tweaks to put it up against, how will we know whether the excellent performance is due to any specific Telstra optimisations, or simply performance due to the fact that its a kick arse phone running on the best spectrum on the fastest network in Aus? In any case I look forward to seeing some real world download figures.

    • Heh I have no doubt Telstra is very frustrated that it can’t optimise the iPhone :) although maybe it can optimise its network for the iPhone?

      • That probably wouldn’t be financially viable. Its what happens when a Vendor locks in hardware the way that Apple does

        I myself have a SGS and use custom roms on it, but that was because the original ROMS on SGS were horrible.

        I would have no reason to install custom ROM’s as long as the phone works properly

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