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Conroy hosts tea for Telstra, CDMA alarmists

Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, hosted a meeting of high-level Telstra executives and industry figures this morning, with the intention of abating concerns over the migration from CDMA to Next G.
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Written by Marcus Browne on

Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, hosted a meeting of high-level Telstra executives and industry figures this morning, with the intention of abating concerns over the migration from CDMA to Next G.

The meeting, chaired by Conroy, allowed Geoff Booth, group managing director of Telstra Country Wide, to open up a dialogue with the federal government and a number of industry representative organisations on the transition.

Despite extending the deadline for closure of the CDMA network till April, Telstra convened the meeting today in response to the anxieties that have attached themselves to the changeover across much of regional and rural Australia.

"The idea of the meeting was to give people who represent a range of constituencies a chance to hear and discuss Telstra's plans for the next few months," said Rosemary Sinclair, managing director of the Australian Telecommunications Users Group (ATUG), who attended the meeting.

According to Sinclair, the telco plans to spend its time until the closure targeting CDMA users who haven't already migrated to Next G as part of a broad initiative but also promised to continue working with customers experiencing difficulties with their Next G connections through a brigade of specially trained coverage advocates.

Telstra stated last week that the coverage advocates had "already made contact with thousands of CDMA customers" only a fortnight after it established a hotline for complaints related to the changeover.

Sinclair told ZDNet.com.au today that the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, had set up its own hotline as an oversight measure for the telco, allowing customers to register their claims with the Minister's office.

"I thought it was a genuine commitment on behalf of Telstra to sort things out," said Sinclair. "They're prepared to work on a one-on-one basis -- even to the point of installing an external antenna -- to get equivalent coverage for Next G customers."

"People really have to think about their needs and not just go for the prettiest Next G phone, the interaction of the handset with the network is what delivers the best coverage," said Sinclair.

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