CDMA? Enough of the bad language

Summary:The day of reckoning finally arrived for CDMA -- and was then postponed, leaving everyone with any strong feeling on the subject a nice window of three months to once again enjoy the semantic back-and-forth the closure provokes.

The day of reckoning finally arrived for CDMA -- and was then postponed, leaving everyone with any strong feeling on the subject a nice window of three months to once again enjoy the semantic back-and-forth the closure provokes.

There's been lots of interesting language being bandied about in the last couple of days over CDMA and its antecedent.

Take this for example, from Broadband Minister and Adrian Mole lookalike Stephen Conroy: "I want to finish today by thanking Telstra on their co-operation in this matter. Telstra should be congratulated for investing extensively in its Next G network, which has received world recognition. I appreciate the resources and commitment Telstra has brought to implementing its new national network."

And from Telstra's head of public policy and Raymond Burr lookalike Phil Burgess: "We welcome the government's decisive action on this important transition in the nation's telecommunications future. We are also pleased that the Minister has provided clear direction to Telstra and to consumers about how to proceed to make sure this transition is completed:

Something in this sound odd to you? All the hearts and flowers, sticky-mouthed kisses and clammy handholding from Telstra and the government? It's all a bit Lady and the Tramp, the two parties at either end of that strand of spaghetti.

This isn't the rough and tumble we're used to from Telstra when a decision doesn't go its way. Could the grumpy telco be mellowing out? Unlikely, but Conroy can dream.

The other titbit that produced much linguistic frothing at the mouth, not least on ZDNet.com.au's talkback, was this Conroy classic:

"Telstra can only switch off the CDMA network when I consider that its replacement provides equivalent coverage and equivalent retail services... I have reached a decision that I am not in a position to declare equivalence between the Next G network and the CDMA networks, and therefore the closure of the CDMA network will be postponed."

Depending on what side of the fence you're on, that translates as "Next G has the same or better coverage as CDMA, there's just a few retail issues to be ironed out," or "The coverage may be the same, but there's enough else wrong to warrant a delay to the CDMA closure".

I presume where you stand on that issue is a question of how you find your Next G coverage and so I'll leave it to bush users to pick the winning statement.

My favourite use of language so far on the CDMA debate was in a press release from the telco itself, reminding its customers to double check they're on Next G.

How exactly should they do that? We'll quote directly from Telstra on this one:

When the phone is on, check the front screen and see if it says 'CDMA'. If it does, then you are using the old CDMA network.

No laughing at the back.

It would be churlish of me to suggest this is stating the sodding obvious (even though it is) but think about it for a second. There are, I'm guessing, three main groups of CDMA users out there, each with distinctly different reactions to the impending network closure.

  • The people who have heard Telstra's messages about the closure, know that time is running out -- acts of Conroy excepted -- and have already made the switch. Maybe they've grumbled a bit about having to shell out for a new mobile but they're now confirmed Next G customers. These guys are probably the type that find the 'does your phone say CDMA? Then you're using CDMA' message risible.
  • Those who have heard Telstra's messages about the closure, know that time is running out -- acts of Conroy excepted -- and have attempted to make the switch but found without Next G coverage or with their equipment not quite up to scratch. They'll be grumbling a lot. These guys are probably the type that are slightly irate about the whole thing.
  • The people that haven't heard anything about the CDMA switchoff. They live in a black hole, and not a coverage one either. They may well find the 'does your phone say CDMA?' message handy. Of course, they're so cut off, they're never going to see it anyway.

Topics: Government : AU

About

Jo Best has been covering IT for the best part of a decade for publications including silicon.com, Guardian Government Computing and ZDNet in both London and Sydney.

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.