Telstra invites MPs on Next G drive-by

After reports that the government is considering forcing Telstra to keep its CDMA network open against the telco's will, Telstra is now offering unconvinced politicians a chance to tour its Next G network.

After reports that the government is considering forcing Telstra to keep its CDMA network open against the telco's will, Telstra is now offering unconvinced politicians a chance to tour its Next G network.

Telstra has issued an invitation to federal members of parliament and rural industry groups to experience a test drive of the network first hand, with the telco's representatives.

Telstra's Country Wide group MD, Geoff Booth, said: "We want to share an insight into the work we are doing to continually fine tune our network coverage." A spokesperson for the telco said a letter had been sent out to MPs at the end of last week asking them what concerns they had and "to get in the truck with us". One MP in South Australia has already taken up the offer, he added.

Telstra plans to close its CDMA network from January next year, by which time it claims its third generation Next G network will provide equal or better coverage.

The government has repeatedly warned the telco over the network's performances to date, with the Prime Minister telling reporters earlier this month: "Our message is that we want to be completely satisfied that the new system will work effectively and we have sought assurances on that and we will take whatever action is required to guarantee that that occurs."

Telstra recently announced it now expects the Next G rollout to be completed two months ahead of schedule, in mid October. When the deployment is completed, Next G should cover 1.9 million square kilometres -- slightly larger than the 1.6 million square kilometres currently spanned by its CDMA network