Poor network coverage, conflicting advice from Telstra on handsets and poor levels of service are among key concerns South Australians have with making the transition to Telstra’s Next G network, Senator Simon Birmingham said today.
Senator Birmingham invited South Australians to report their experiences and concerns, following the Communications Minister’s decision in January to push back by three months to 28 April 2008 the potential switch off of the CDMA network.
“Dozens of concerns have been reported to me, which I have forwarded to Telstra and the Minister,” Senator Birmingham said. ”The extent of concerns makes it clear that the transition to Next G has not been an easy one, and that many people are still not receiving equivalent coverage.
“Under a licence condition imposed by the former Liberal Government to protect consumers, Telstra can’t close its CDMA network until it satisfies the Minister that its Next G network provides equivalent coverage.
“Effective mobile phone services are particularly critical in regional, rural and remote communities where pay phones are few and far between including in the safe and effective management of many farming properties.
“There are enough examples of people being able to make calls on the CDMA network, but not on the Next G network from the same location, to suggest there is more work to be done before it is safe to switch off CDMA.
“I look forward to the Minister ensuring the licence condition on equivalent coverage is met, and also look forward to Telstra and the Minister working to address the concerns of South Australians in regional, rural and remote areas.
“Telstra’s efforts and willingness to ensure that no customers are disadvantaged by making the switch to Next G are welcome, but equally the Government has an important role in ensuring licence conditions are met and service provision maintained.”