CDMA? Enough of the bad language

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.

TOPICS: Government AU

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'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.

Topic: Government AU

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  • Telstra Haters have a bad day.

    Jo, I can understand your disdain and perhaps horror that Telstra and the Rudd Government are reaching a point of mutual respect and joint desire and co-operation to fulfil the Australian peoples demand for Fast Fibre.

    I expect your hope for destabilized conflict has been challenged by signs of peace and mutual co-operation from Senator Conroy and Telstra. By deceptive argument the Telstra Haters had the support of the now despised Howard/Coonan Government and it is to be happily accepted that a new era of peace and fairness now exist in Australia.

    What other Australian company has had to suffer the contemptuous situation where they were forced to supply opponents with facilities, at below cost, that would then be used by their opponents to pilfer Telstra customers.

    Let us also hope that Senator Conroy exercises his considerable power to retrieve that billion dollars that was gifted under false pretences to the dismay of the long suffering Australian taxpayer.
  • CDMA

    People who have to drive round the countryside visiting clients on their properties eg sales people,stock& station agents, wool buyers, builders, mechanics & repair people, real estate agents & many others in similar roles(not just the rural property owners) - many of these people who I deal with, tell me they cannot get the coverage with 3G that they could get with CDMA, and complain bittlely about the inconvenience this has on their daily business shedules.
    WE understand that Telstra has had to cut CDMA strength to 50% so as to be able to concurrently operate 3G at 50%, - and that 3G will go up to 100% once CDMA is switched off, BUT how can you place any trust in their claims of equal or better coverage, when the Corporation is still such an client unfriendly business, with a track record that is rather "sus" for -shall I say honesty? (eg analog to CDMA coverage)
    To most folk in the debate it is just an academic or idelogical argument,
    to us it affects our daily lives
  • Wireless Generational Evolution

    I do not mean to probe into Australian politics, but am curious about why politics is probing into technology.

    When you say “3G” do you mean UMTS/WCDMA? The whole “G” terminology is divisive and non-standardized.

    In the CDMA ( world, one uses a separate “EVDO” carrier for high-speed data. It makes for flexible management of spectrum, and the footprint of voice is not degraded by the RF carrier for high-speed data. In the WCDMA/UMTS ( world, a larger chunk of spectrum is required, and voice and data are intermingled on the same RF carrier.

    CDMA was designed for fighter jets to be robust in the face of interference, unlikely to be monitored off-air, and extremely efficient in spectrum and hardware. GSM is the opposite in all of these characteristics so the GSM operators are migrating to UMTS, whose services sit on a wider-band (W) CDMA carrier.

    It sounds like you want to make CDMA a “bad word” but all modulations are headed toward being either CDMA or OFDM based. GSM is TDMA, which is very inefficient, easily monitored, and highly susceptible to interference. It is great to see the GSM operators finally able to migrate and evolve to enjoy the radical improvements afforded by CDMA technologies.

    CDMA will have a bigger footprint than WCDMA. This is physics – not politics. For rural areas needing the largest possible footprint, nothing can touch CDMA at 450 MHz. This is why CDMA is seen all around the world, including Scandinavian countries. CDMA using the CDMA2000 specifications will be with us for a very long time to come.

    …Love you Aussies!
  • Anonymous - not

    I just posted "Wireless Generational Evolution" and see that it called me Anonymous. The site appears to also failed to handle quotes and other common characters in the set. Sorry about that...

    Garitaar (in USA)
  • Equvalent is NOT the same

    You state - "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".

    The report CLEARLY states that equivalent does not necessarily mean identical - did you even read the report with all it's blacked out sections?? or did you just google it??
  • Long may it continue

    Hey Sydney, there's no disdain or indeed horror on my part. It's nice to see Telstra being so relaxed these days.

    With its new cool-man-cool attitude, I look forward to the telco being equally sanguine should the upcoming fibre to the node contract be given to the G9.
  • read what you want

    read what you want in the report but dont pass off your telstra support as fact when its not

    try telling us bush users that its all euqivalent when we cant use our phones
  • Why turn CDMA off?

    Most people I know just want to make calls and are not interested in anything fancy and complicated. What I can't get a straight answer on is will calls cost me more? I currently spend $18 a month on my mobile including calls and I like my hanset that I've had now for 4 years. I now have to get an expensive complicated phone and a new plan that is going to cost me more than $18 per month, regardless of any discount period!!
  • Several observations

    1. Based on your the impression I get from your writing Jo I am sure you will be devastated if Telstra and the government stop fighting. You will still find petty things to fill your quota but they will be even more transparent then they are today.

    2. Sydney, your final point talks about retrieving poorly allocated funds, I would simply like to see the truth behind these allocations first. Has anyone seen any of the Opel network being built as yet considering they said it will be up and running by the end of this year.

    3. Talking about reducing strength by 50%, if this was true we would have heard it from the professionals in the media or at worst from the amateurs like of Jo before we heard about it from someone who will not even show their name.

    4. For those of you who complain about having to spend more money ... too bad ... one thing in life is that things cost money, just like VHS and Beta you can keep the outdated unit that still works well but you will have nothing to use it on. I am sure someone will pop up now and argue that Beta was better quality so don't wast the bandwidth in trying to be a smart a--.

    5. And as you raised it Jo the FTTN should be awarded to the best solution for the country. Any good journalist would have stated .. if it was awarded to another provider .. but by stating G9 you clearly show your alliance to this group, other articles you have written prove this. The process has not begun but when it does I am sure there will be more then just these two bidding.
  • Hi Stephen

    Thanks for reading all my work. It's good to have a following.

    Articles about Telstra do seem to provoke a lot of comment, which I welcome. However, i realise it can be tempting for some people to apply their own misconceptions where others' do not.

    Whether Telstra, G9, Deutsche Telekom, or three guys with yoghurt pots and a ball of strings win the tender, is a secondary consideration compared to whether the infrastructure works and provides open access.

    Infrastrucutre, particularly broadband, is critical to Australia. Treating it like a holy war between Telstra and its competitors does no one any favours and takes the debate nowhere.
  • Teenage Queen.

    Dream on Jo.
  • Seen this,25197,23093715-20142,00.html
  • Use Word Pad or Notepad

    I have been advised the ZDNet software cannot handle documents prepared using M$ or any other word processing package.
    If you want your comments to make sense, either type them into the comment box or use the very simple not pad type software.
    I don't know why ZDNet don't advertise this restriction. It's also a puzzle why the comments can't accept GOOGLE Autofill for the ID info it needs. It uses some dumb system which can't fill in my email correctly.
  • Enough DEBATE!

    Jo, I just wish Conroy would stop debating this issue & get on with providing the country with FTTH. Anything less is a compromise to appease Tel$tra.

    Please keep needling them and hopefully put a stop to all the waffle!
  • WOW

    At no time did yo ubag Telstra in your comment. Are we starting to see a change from you Keith?
  • too bad

    so its a step forward to pay more for the same thing? I don't understand your reference to video either. My view is that I currently have a service that works just fine but it is to be replaced by an inferior service that costs more.
  • Upgrade your battery

    A 3GPP WDMA mobile phone will create more radio emission energy in a geographic area that has low or marginal coverage. This is necessary so that it can participate in the signal coding algorithms (Orthogonal Codes also known as device data streams, and PN Codes also known as device/base station channel streams). If a 3GPP WCDMA phone in a geographic area that has low or marginal coverage cannot present itself to the base station receiver with the correct frequency strength then it will interfere with signal coding algorithms and the phone by its 3GPP design will not participate in the WCDMA network resulting in a no network coverage message for the user.

    The ability for 3GPP WCDMA phones (and associated base stations) to present themselves with steady fixed signal strength levels at the receiver end is crucial for a WCDMA network to function without degrading the network.

    Therefore country users in geographic areas that have low or marginal WCDMA coverage will find that their phones will consume more battery power and that their phones will display a no network coverage message much earlier before the battery actually goes flat. This problem can be alleviated by upgrading to the latest battery technology (a fancy way of saying upgrade your phone) which is what Telstra is encouraging people in these areas to do.

    My view is that Telstra should be giving these phones away for free and that users in these marginal areas should always keep their phone batteries fully charged as practicable and at least have another means of operating at full power e.g. car kit.

    Yes, it is currently a worse situation for these users than the old CDMA, but technological advances in phone technology will make NextG desirable for them in the future. Perhaps Telstra can help them out here if they cannot be bothered installing base stations in these areas to alleviate this problem.

    (Note: I have never been a Telstra employee and I don't own Telstra shares, so Sol how about a job offer for explaining this?).

    PS: sorry for the repeat of this post - its the last one.
  • yawn

    sydney, throwing silly insults around? i thought telstra supporters could do better than that. shame.
  • Where I live

    I read the report - why? - because I was interested in comparing the report contents to the spin often imparted in the various media and blog presentations.

    funny - your post indicates that you have assumed I am not from "the bush"

    well in fact I have a few thousand lazy acres - well outside WCDMA (3G) coverage - and incidentally - only marginally covered by CDMA (2G) in the northern part of Victoria

    I have no more support for Telstra than I do for Optus, Orange, Vodafone (remember those guys - the ones that won't venture outside the cities or interlink highways because it is not profitable.)

    I will support the vendor that provides me a service in the manner I need it. So far none have met the challenge.