For some, phoning home's frustrating

MICHAEL Jones is not happy with Telstra's Next G because, unlike his previous CDMA service, he can't talk to anyone when he is in Taylor's Arm or on Scotts Head Road. The Macksville-based stock and station agent says he swapped his old CDMA phone for an LG phone on the advice of a Telstra salesperson who recommended it as the most suitable model.

"I can't get a phone call until I get back on the highway," Michael Jones said.

"The phone doesn't work in the main street of Bowraville."

Dorrigo's Brian Darby is cautiously pleased with his new Telstra Country mobile handset after spending frustrating months unable to get coverage around the Plateau on the Next G network with his previous handset.

"I had to drive up past the yards to the road to get a call, and then it cut out until I was nearly into Dorrigo," he said.

"This one seems good, but I've only had it a few days."

Bellingen real estate agent Gail Cardow said she had the same and in some cases better mobile coverage with her new white Country phone than she had had with CDMA.

The area general manager of Telstra Country Wide for the Mid North Coast, Michael Sharpe, said with just 12 days left until Telstra closed the CDMA network, mobile phone users needed to act quickly to get their new phones before the deadline.

"We intend to close CDMA on January 28," Mr Sharpe said.

The Federal Minister for Communications has said he will make a decision on whether the CDMA network can be shut down on Sunday, January 20.

Mr Sharpe said most of the inquiry they had been receiving had been about hand set issues.

"There are a whole range of reasons why people's phones are not performing," he said.

"There has been a lot of incorrect selling (of handsets) and in some cases people are using old SIM cards."

"The 'blue tick' phones are the most appropriate for this area."

Mr Sharpe said the Country phone with a pull-up antenna was excellent and coverage with the Next G network was equivalent or better than CDMA, thanks to eight new NextG only towers built in the region in the past eight months including one at Emerald Beach and several in Coffs Harbour.

Mr Sharp said anyone who did not believe they had equivalent coverage with Next G should contact 215 111 and Telstra would carry out testing.



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