Cool reception to Telstra's new network

GOONENGERRY resident, Basil Cameron won't be moving over to Next G when Telstra switches off the CDMA mobile phone network later this month.

"I really need to have a phone that's as good as CDMA, but if they're not going to address the issues then I'm not going to pay for a phone and a contract that's only 70 per cent as good. That's like throwing money away," he said.

"Unless they address these issues, I won't have a [mobile] phone, which is not to say I don't need one."

Mr Cameron did a series of tests in January with both a CDMA and a Next G phone in 30 locations from Federal to Lismore. He found that the CDMA phone worked in all locations, whereas the Next G phone only worked in 70 per cent of locations and only had full coverage in 20 per cent of tests.

"Telstra gave me the (Next G) phone and it was one of their U-Beaut Telstra 165 phones, which is supposed to be one of their best handsets," he said.

He gave his results to Telstra who told him they would address the data.

"They said someone would come and see me, but they never did. I waited six weeks and in the interim they said they had sent someone somewhere and in their opinion everything was OK. But they won't give me the results of those tests. What handsets did they use? Where did they go? What were the results?"

Mr Cameron said what gets him 'really hot under the collar' is that there are no other providers or networks available in his area. He said with a Next G phone the reception is noisier and he has to run around the house to find the sweet spot.

"If someone is talking to me on my CDMA phone, I can be walking around, it doesn't matter where I stand anywhere in the house."

Rock Valley resident Brian Wheatley had a similar problem.

When he complained about his reception, Telstra sent someone out to swap his handset over to one with an extendable aerial and helped him find places around his house where it would work.

But Mr Wheatley said he still has to stand next to a window in order to get a decent signal.

"I've learnt to work around it. I don't bother turning it on at the house and then check my messages whenever I go into town."

Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy said he was satisfied Telstra had met the equivalence tests and had sufficiently rectified the problems identified in January when the switch off date of the CDMA network was delayed.

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