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Exclusive: Telstra is working to cut the evaluation and certification lead time for smartphones running on their network in a move that could see Australians get faster access to a new generation of smartphones.The move comes after several major smartphone vendors said they were losing their “marketing edge” in Australia due to the 16 week evaluation period that Telstra is demanding vendors adhere to before they get approval for a smartphone to run on their network.

Speaking exclusively to SmartHouse at the LG launch of their Optimus G smartphone, which is set to run on the Telstra network, Andrew Vollard, the Director of Mobile Operations at Telstra, said Telstra recognised there was a problem with some vendors over the “lengthy” lead time.

“We recognise the problem and we are working to get the evaluation lead time down. We would like it to be between six to eight weeks. What is essential is that we are able to certify both the hardware and software in new devices that are set to run on our network. We recognise that lead times for new smartphones are becoming shorter than ever before”.

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According to John Stefanac, President of Qualcomm Asia Pacific, the lead times for new smartphones has been cut dramatically during the past 18 months.

“The life of some smartphones is down to 3 months and this is creating pressure on both carriers and manufacturers” said Stefanac at today’s LG launch for the Optimus ,G that was initially launched in Korea running Ice Cream Sandwich back in September 2012.

The new LG Australia version of the Optimus G is running the latest Android Jelly Bean OS, a move that was critical claims Brad Reed from LG Australia.

“Yes there was a delay getting the device through the Telstra certification process and having Xmas in the middle of the process did not help he said. Any reduction in the evaluation process is going to help” said Reed.
Smartphones believed to have been impacted recently by Telstra’s long evaluation process include the Blackberry Z10 and the Nokia Lumia 920.

According to a senior marketing executive at a major smartphone vendor, the Telstra evaluation process has led to them losing market share.

“The lead time between new smartphone models has been cut dramatically, yet despite this Telstra has not cut their evaluation time frame. If they can deliver in six to eight weeks it will help us”. 

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