Telstra has announced its Next G network rollout will be completed ahead of schedule, despite government fears that the deployment couldn't meet expectations.
The company has revealed that it expects to complete its network rollout two months before time, in mid-October. The planned Next G coverage extension is intended to replace the telco's current 2G CDMA network.
Last month, Communications Minister Helen Coonan voiced her fears that Next G may not yet be an adequate replacement for the CDMA network, which Telstra plans to switch off on 28 January 2008.
"I received a lot of complaints and a lot of concerns have been expressed to me that the new Next G is not providing, at the moment, a very good service," she said recently, after ordering audits of the network's performance.
When the deployment is completed, Next G should cover 1.9 million square km -- slightly larger than the 1.6 million square km currently spanned by its CDMA network.
According to Telstra, technicians had driven more than 33,000 kilometres since May to test Next G's performance. The telco is also asking customers to submit experience of coverage "black spots" through its Web site.
The company claims that Next G will equal or beat CDMA in performance terms by October, and has recently extended the reach of the network to provide download speeds of 2.3Mbps at distances of 200km.