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CDMA - Will it ever die? - What's New? CDMA - Will it ever die?

27 January 2008
Reported by Max Bondorovsky

Maybe I have been watching too much of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles but when I first read about CDMA closure being delayed it reminded me of how hard it is to kill a Terminator.

Let me tell you why that thought popped into my head: Its closure was initially announced in mid 2007 and more recently the official date was set, with D-Day happening on the 28 January 2008. Few days after writing that article, 18 January to be precise, Telstra Country Wide Group Managing Director, Mr. Geoff Booth announced that the CDMA closure date will be extended until 28 April 2008 due to government pressure.

What does all this mean? It just means that if you are on CDMA, sooner or later you will have to move on.

The deadline of the 28 January would have kick started the mad rush of CDMA customers migrating to Next G or porting out. CDMA has always been great and preferred by the country folk for providing unprecedented levels of coverage but not so necessary within the city. I have heard personal reports where even Next G did not offer the same level of reception that CDMA did in certain rural areas, this is only hearsay though.

Telstra has been very supportive to its customers in regards to the migration process and have set up the following services to assist customers:

  • Special hotline (1800 888 888) to help customers move from CDMA. This is the number customers can call if they are having genuine issues with handsets and equipment when making the move from CDMA to the Next G mobile network.
  • Special coverage advocates staff to help customers move from the old CDMA network and ensure they have the right handsets and equipment to do it seamlessly.
The Coverage advocates are a special team who are specially trained to assist with migration. The advocates will proactively contact the remaining customers on the CDMA network and talk to them about how best to migrate to the Next G network. There will be a total of 57 coverage advocates and they will be assisted as follows:
  • 6 in South Australia
  • 2 in Northern Territory
  • 6 in Victoria
  • 17 in New South Wales/ACT
  • 3 in Tasmania
  • 16 in Queensland
  • 7 in Western Australia
UPDATE:

On 8 February "Telstra announced that its specially trained Coverage Advocates had already made contact with thousands of CDMA customers, providing an unprecedented level of support to customers as they make the move to the Next G network."

So far the 57 coverage advocates have made thousands of phone calls and over 550 visits to CDMA customers to "prove coverage equivalence and help ensure they get the right handsets and equipment"

Telstra follows on to give examples of the positive results, I have copied them below. What interests me is the statistics of how many customers are worse off with the Next G coverage and also the figures for the port-outs (leaving) from CDMA to different carriers.

Examples:
  • Cockatoo VIC - customer could make calls from within their house with the Next G network but could not with the old CDMA network.
  • Lakes Entrance VIC - business customer tested the Next G service on country roads and was surprised to find he could not make a call from his old CDMA phone but could on the Next G Country Phone.
  • Neerim South VIC - farmer who didn't have CDMA coverage in patches on a cattle property but has coverage all over with the Next G network.
  • Dandaragan WA - customer could not hold a call on their CDMA phone in their house but the Next G network worked fine.
Same as the last CDMA update, the comparison table between CDMA and Next G is below. Only few more months until CDMA finally shuts down but you never known, it might turn out to be another Skynet and will come back to haunt us.


 

Next G network

CDMA network

1. More sites (towers)

> 6,000

3,480

2. Wider geographic coverage

> 2 million sq kms*

> 1.6 million sq kms*

3. More population coverage

98.9%*

98%*

4. Peak network speed

14.4 Mbps

2.4 Mbps

5. Typical User Download speeds

550 kbps - 3 Mbps

300 - 600 kbps

(using a 7 series device)

(1xEV-DO)

6. Peak upload speeds

1.9 Mbps

153 kbps

7. Wireless Broadband population coverage

98.90%

49%

8. Wireless Broadband geographic coverage

> 2 million sq kms

> 7,600 sq kms (EVDO)

9. International roaming access

170 countries

9 countries

10. Video calling

Yes (on most handsets)

No

11. Video messaging

Yes (on most handsets)

No

12. Mobile FOXTEL

Yes

No

13. BigPond Mobile Music

Yes

No

14. BigPond TV

Yes

No

15. Sensis®search

Yes

No

16. Exclusive Mobile coverage of the NRL and AFL seasons, including full match replays

Yes

No

17. Whereis® maps

Yes

No

18. View weather maps and conditions on your mobile

Yes

No

19. View and pay your Telstra bills on your mobile

Yes

No

20. Will be available after early 2008

Yes

No


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