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Telstra signs $1.1 billion Defence contract

Telstra has won a $1.1 billion contract to supply telecommunications, network and mobile services to the Department of Defence.

The six-and-a-half year contract represents the "largest customer undertaking" Telstra has ever taken on, Telstra CEO David Thodey said today.

Read more in depth Telstra stories

Under the contract, Telstra will help Defence integrate fixed telecom with satellite and tactical networks, Telstra said. In addition, Telstra will provide unified communications, videoconferencing, tablet and smartphone services so Defence can connect troops, commanders, bases and global allies.

Telstra will create 350 new positions to fulfill the contract, "including recruiting some of the nation's leading IT, network and security experts," Thodey said.

The project has a targeted completion date of mid-2016. It is expected to enhance network performance and meet Defence's capability requirements until 2023, Telstra said.

Defence CIO, Peter Lawrence, expects the contract to provide "robust and secure" ICT "while creating greater an efficiencies and lower costs," he said.

"The project includes a major transformation program of work and the ongoing sustainment of Defence's telecommunications environment."

The Defence telecom network includes 430 sites in Australia supporting 100,000 users in Australia and overseas. The network project is part of wider strategic changes at Defence.

In a recent two-part interview, Lawrence said Defence was considering how it might use smartphones in the battlefield.

"The whole issue of smartphones in Defence is one of those where there is certainly growing demand but we haven't resolved how we are going to do it yet," he said.

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