I’m not one to blindly believe corporate propaganda, but Telstra’s latest promotion pointing out they have better mobile coverage certainly rings true for me and my (now almost due for an upgrade) GSM (2G) phone.

While I’m not much of a wireless data user like the people in the adverts, it’s pretty obvious just with voice calls that the network coverage for the various carriers varies wildly.

Witness my sister, on 3, who can’t reliably make a call from own her kitchen in Cheltenham, while I get a full-strength signal. (She’s not the only one to see this kind of thing).

Witness M, who at her parents home in the country has to go with her Optus 2G phone out of the house to one of the sheds and sit as high as possible in a tractor to get a signal. Whereas I can get 2/6 bars, enough to easily make a call, sitting in a comfy chair in the house.

Witness the bloke on the train the other day, who tried to make a call at South Yarra when his iPhone cut out. I don’t know what network he was on, but given I know my phone works flawlessly at that precise spot, I can guess which one it wasn’t.

I know you’re not necessarily getting the cheapest network access and call rates on the big T. And maybe it varies according to where you regularly travel. And no network is perfect of course.

We all make our choice and pay our money.

For me, it’s worth a little extra dosh to use the network with the best coverage, to avoid all that tedious mucking about trying to get a signal and then having your calls drop out.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

13 replies on “Reception”

I must be in the only dead spot for telstra in Melbourne. My office is in Derrimut, and while I joke that Derrimut is aboriginal name for “where the bloody hell is that?”, it is in fact only 15 minute drive from the CBD. Why then does the signal on my 3G phone drop in and out at random? At the moment it is the full 6 bars, but just a few minutes ago a call dropped out because it had dropped to 0.
At least it’s better than 3-network, whose published broadband coverage serves most of the greater Metropolitan area EXCEPT for a narrow wedge that just eliminates the strech of street where my office is!

This is treason, Daniel…treason against the Telstra-haters.
Telstra are no more capable of introducing new technology than Connex are running my 7:29 Epping train on time; what you might see as a good service, I see a potentially better service if there’d been more market competition.

Telstra generally does have better coverage in rural areas but Fish Creek (a small town) in South Gippsland there is no Telstra coverage but there is Optus coverage (there is an Optus tower nearby).

i have 2 phones – one on 3 to use in the city (way way cheaper calls + text) and one is on Telstra NextG as i head out bush most weekends. When Telstra changed form CDMA to NextG there was alot of uproar – they promised coverage to something like 95% of WA and then when it didnt happen justified themselves that it was 95% of the population … many places that had perfect coverage before are now dead zones :( its a shame they hold the monopoly for rural coverage.

Telstra usually drops out constantly on my mobile phone, it is very annoying and I can’t recieve or make calls or texts. I hope things improve.

I am on Vodafone. When I lived in Bentleigh I found there was zero network coverage the whole train trip from the CBD to Bentleigh. I would have thought that would have been a priority for them.

I now live in the west and have better coverage but the bars goes up and down like a yo-yo and calls regularly drop out.

Altissima, not that I doubt you, but I’ve been to Derrimut, and I’d challenge you to get there in 15 minutes from the CBD without speeding! Even Google Maps reckons 20!

Reuben, how is it treason if I’m not a Telstra hater? Anyway, if you want to have a debate about it, at least present some evidence.

Shaz, I could be wrong, but I don’t think any carrier has ever claimed to get to 95% of the area. From what I’ve seen they’ve always said it’s population. Check your phone has one of those blue ticks for country reception though, and hassle them if the coverage is inferior to CDMA, ‘cos they were meant to fix that before switching it off. (Didn’t the Dept of Communications do some checking?)

Nick, you sure it’s not your phone? Or are you in a known black spot like the City Loop? My reception is flawless almost right across the metro area when I’ve used it.

I live in Thailand and get a far better service then I did with Telstra back home.

I pay 1.5 cents per minute to call any (land line and mobile) phone in Thailand and I use it for the internet (connected to my laptop) Unlimited use and downloads and a decent speed for $18 a month.

Memock, I’m not talking about price, I’m talking about signal strength/reception quality.

Michael, all very fine, but useless outside the USA from the looks of it. (And I’m assuming you’re affiliated with the site, since you didn’t say otherwise. I don’t mind people plugging their sites if it’s relevant to the post, but would appreciate disclosure.)

I got an iphone when they came out in OZ and am on Telstra Next G. So did a number of friends, however most of them went with Optus. And most of them are regretting it.

Nobody can argue that the Telstra Next G network is easily the best in Australia, and possibly the world. The pricing and customer service you get however leaves much to be desired. YMMV.

I have a like\dislike with Telstra it’s like a itch that you can’t scratch publicly. Our Telstra phones surprised us by ringing when we were 25kms south of Ti-Tree heading towards Alice Springs which was 150+ kms & the call was surprising clear. It seemed really bizarre to be able to speak to my sister in such a remote location as no matter what claims they have reception never worked more than 15kms out of Alice Springs & nothing until Coober Pedy to the South & 500kms up the track to Tennant Creek in the north. Up here we just never believed that you could make a call anywhere but in a largish town & you would need to be fairly close to get any reception.

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