Telstra cannot close CDMA til April: Minister

Telstra cannot close CDMA til April: Minister

Summary: update Broadband Minister Stephen Conroy has ruled Telstra cannot close its CDMA network until at least 28 April, 2008.

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update Broadband Minister Stephen Conroy has ruled Telstra cannot close its CDMA network until at least 28 April, 2008.

The telco had been scheduled to switch off the CDMA network on 28 January, after its own internal audits showed the replacement Next G network now has equal or better coverage.

However, Conroy decreed that he is "not in a position to declare equivalence between the Next G network and the CDMA networks" and mandated that the 2G network must remain open for at least three more months.

Conroy said his decision had been informed by an audit conducted by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, examining Next G coverage, which was delivered last week. While the audits found coverage broadly parallel between the two networks, the Minister said other issues must be resolved before the switchoff could be authorised.

Prior to the audit, former Communications Minister Helen Coonan declared that Next G has "enormous problems" and set up a government helpline for bush users to report coverage blackspots.

However, Senator Conroy said he expected Telstra to be able to resolve all ongoing issues with the Next G network by the April deadline.

"Telstra will provide me with advice within two weeks on how they will address the issues that have been identified, and report to me on the rectification to enable me to reconsider this matter," Conroy said in a statement.

"Telstra have advised me that this can be done by 28 April. This seems reasonable, subject to me a receiving a report that comprehensively addresses my concerns and consumers should work on the basis that the CDMA network will be switched off."

Telstra said it will work with the government to fix any remaining issues and welcomed the migration path set out by the Minister.

In most cases, customers now have better coverage with Next G than under the CDMA network, according to Telstra's Country Wide group MD Geoff Booth.

"Where they don't we specifically want to hear from them because they are the customers we want to deal with and make sure they have the right network in place and the right handsets in place," he said.

Meanwhile, the Minister has requested that Telstra be more active in informing consumers of any coverage issues with Next G handsets.

"We expect Telstra to advertise a phone number that customers can ring to get these issues resolved," Conroy concluded.

AAP contributed to this report.

Topics: Telcos, Government AU, Telstra

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17 comments
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  • $1billion on a flaky network

    Funny how in this day and age they are still tring tro get something that is already proven to work.
    anonymous
  • Oops

    "update Broadband Minister Stephen Conroy has ruled Telstra cannot close its Next G network until at least 28 April, 2008."

    Wow they're shutting down the Next G network already hey? ;-)

    Don't you mean CDMA network Jo?
    anonymous
  • Nice one Jo, half report the truth!!!!!

    Please see quote and read in full the Ministers Media release, not just a Journo's attempt to report the truth,

    â??ACMA found, and I agree, that the Next Gâ?¢ footprint is equivalent to the CDMA network. ACMA also found that the Next Gâ?¢ coverage using an external aerial was equivalent; however issues were identified with handheld coverage, which I have asked Telstra to address,â?? Senator Conroy said.

    http://www.minister.dbcde.gov.au/media/media_releases/2008/005
    anonymous
  • Report the truth

    Ive read the ACMA report and its findings show Next G is "equivelent" and there are other issues to resolve before the april closure. Its a very interesting report and worth a read for factual information rather than taking an newspaper's/journo's interpretation.
    anonymous
  • you mean read this bit

    FOllow the link and you can see this

    “I have notified Telstra today that at this point in time I am not in a position to declare equivalence between the Next G™ network and the CDMA networks,” Senator Conroy said.

    how much clearer can it be? telstra is in trouble and next g is a let down.
    anonymous
  • might as well shut it down

    it's not even half as good as cdma
    anonymous
  • Read my title Halfwit

    Must be an optus employee... or would have a good chance at getting a job..
    anonymous
  • re .. you mean read this bit

    Formally the senator had to state he could not declare equivalence for him to keep the network open. It's a bit like saying you have to tell someone the sun has come up to say it is daytime.

    I am happy to copy and paste the entire 86 page document and 56 page presentation for you to understand that from a coverage perspective the coverage was fundamentally listed as equivalent but available handsets and sales channels were not up to scratch.
    anonymous
  • DW .... Does that stand for DipWit?

    .
    anonymous
  • Does Anonymous stand for......

    Telstra Employee?
    anonymous
  • hi telstra lovers

    I bet you're disappointed conroy said what we all know - Next G is just not good enough. you can argue all you like but the fact that Conroy kept the network open for three months tells the whole story.
    anonymous
  • Get your facts - Telstra Next G Disgruntled Customer

    I say to all of you people who only read the reports and don't have first hand knowledge of the amount of complaints that are occuring with Next G..... get the current facts. Currently the TIO are inundated with complaints if you phone the 1800 062 058 telephone number they have an automatic answering message advising customers they are unable to cope with the amount of complaints and it may take 3-4 weeks before they can contact the customer. Having dealt with Telstra since April last year and not having any political/share leanings I say this organisation is shameful and has lost its way. I hope the government takes back regulation of the whole industry and allows the consumer a voice again. The telco industry pleaded for self regulation and have abused this privilege and the trust of the consumer. You who have shares and only want them to increase no matter what the consequences I say shame on you. You, who work for Telstra and try to buffer the real complaints, again I say shame on you. Try dealing with the incompetent staff and management before you place your own self interests on this site.
    anonymous
  • Debra

    There are two side of the fence.

    You attack Telstra employees 45,000 of them (one in every 500 Australians, one in 200 working Australians). If you combine the employees for all the companies that would consider themselves Telstra competitors there is at least 80,000.

    You also attack individual shareholders, once again you do not consider the shareholders of the other companies.

    If you actually bother to read all the facts you will find that although Telstra receive the largest number of complaints to the TIO, relative to their actual size in the market place they actually receive one of the lowest relative number of complaints.
    anonymous
  • Okay - where do you sit?

    Responding to your statistical information you recently provided to my comment about the mishandling of my coverage complaint Stephen.

    Please share with me and the readers on this site what your actual position is within the industry or why you felt inclined to inform me about the breakdown of your statistics and to highlight Telstra's complaint stats. with the TIO.

    Obviously I am writing about my personal dealings with the staff and management inTelstra in following up escalated complaints about poor/drop out mobile phone coverage and have first hand knowledge of how incompetent this organisation is in this area.

    Refer to earlier comment entry under 'Debra, Ferny Creek, Victoria and you might understand the history and possibly have a sense of empathy for anyone experiencing these problems.

    Currently my complaint is being dealt with the Minister's office and placed in the high priority level, due to Telstra failing to rectify an ongoing problem.

    The facts you write about are generic and fail to highlight the amount of complaints consumers are experiencing due to mobile coverage. Why is the government not going to release the statistical information about how many complaints they are dealing with at the moment if everything is squeaky clean regarding Next G coverage.

    I suggest Stephen, before showing your own self interests you try.....and I mean try to understand what it feels like to be in someone elses shoes and appreciate their frustrations.

    Here's hoping for a change in attitude and greater appreciation of some of the future comments people place on this site and there need to vent and share their experiences.
    anonymous
  • Former Telecom employee

    You ask where I sit, I worked for Telecom for many years, moved into my own business and have been out of the workforce for a few years.

    I know the annoyance that one can experience dealing with major companies but to paint a picture of deliberate poor customer service and an attitude towards lies and deception is unfair to the 99% of employees who turn up each day wanting to work hard.

    I have no financial incentive to support one company over another although having given many years to this great institution I am deeply saddened that it has become the nations whipping boy. Knowing the industry fairly well I know that the expectations and demands placed on the industry are unevenly distributed towards Telstra.

    Yes they are the nations major copper infrastructure provider but outside of this the mobile network is not a monopoly, with 4 competing companies. The demands for Telstra to provide coverage has not been placed on any other company although all of the funding for the networks have come from the companies own pockets and not the government.

    If we go back to the migration from analogue to CDMA this same demand was imposed and there was the same kicking and screaming back then, within a very short time frame people realised how much of an improvement CDMA was. We are in the same boat today.

    When they say lightning never strikes twice in the same place they were obviously not looking at the way the media and governments can attack the same issues over a decade apart.

    All going to plan the CDMA network will be turned off in around 6 weeks and then there will be a huge uproar for about 2-3 months when people realise they have ignored the publicity then the media will need to look for something new to attack.

    I look forward to this story finally making it to the news archives.
    anonymous
  • NEXT G

    I USED TO GET SERVICE ON MY NEXT G PHONE AT HOME ATTACHED TO AN EXTERNAL AERIAL 20FT UP, SINCE TO TURN OFF OF CDMA I HAVE NO SERVICE AT ALL.
    EQUAL OR BETTER - BULL DUST!
    anonymous
  • Next G...garbage

    Since I went to Next G-arbage,my coverage has never been worse and I live 3 KM from the Adelaide GPO...
    Try and make a call-"Call Failed" happens all to often,90% of my incoming calls go straight to message bank,when I send a SMS,I get"Cannot Send,will send later"

    I got one SMS at 4 AM that was sent at 1PM the day befor. Not happy Jan,Telstra is too buisy sending ringtones to kids for big$$$ instead of looking after the phone call side of things...
    Going else where...YOU BET!!!
    anonymous