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Thu, 17th January 2008

CONROY'S CDMA D-DAY FAST APPROACHES The Hon Bruce Billson MP Shadow Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

I would again call on Communications Minister Stephen Conroy to outline the parameters of a no-disadvantage framework before deciding whether Telstra can shut-down its CDMA mobile phone network on January 28.

A decision by Senator Conroy is imminent and I would urge him to seriously consider the individual situations of thousands of CDMA customers when making his decision.

While Telstra maintains its Next G Network will provide equivalent or better coverage than its CDMA network, we continue to hear anecdotal reports from many parts of mainly rural and regional Australia about questionable coverage, incompatible handsets and other issues of concern.

I have also heard reports that some existing CDMA customers have had requests for existing handset activation rejected. These customers are entitle to full service and access until such a time that the CDMA network is shut-down.

Based on the reports, but without seeing the information and advice Senator Conroy has at his disposal from his department and the Australian Communications and Media Authority, I am not convinced that equivalent, or better Next G service is a reality across the board.

There is no doubt Telstra has stepped up its efforts to encourage and assist customers to make the switch to Next G, but there are still many people who are yet to do so.

I would again call on Senator Conroy to make public the ACMA report and other advice about coverage and handset performance so the public can see the advice he is acting on will match the reality of the consumer.

It would also be presumptuous of Telstra to consider the CDMA shutdown on January 28 as a foregone conclusion, unless it knows more about the intentions of the Rudd Government than CDMA users.

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