Telstra's CDMA cut-off gets Ministerial reprieve

Stephen Conroy has given tentative approval to delay the CDMA closure till as late as 28 April, 2008

The CDMA cut-off date has been pushed back several months after the Federal Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, said on Friday that he was not convinced as yet of the "equivalence" between Telstra's Next G and older CDMA network.

The CDMA network was scheduled to be cut off on 28 January 2008 with all existing customers urged to migrate to Telstra's Next G GSM network.

"I have notified Telstra today that at this point in time I am not in a position to declare equivalence between the Next G network and the CDMA networks," Conroy said.

"Telstra have advised me that this can be done by 28 April. This seems reasonable, subject to me receiving a report that comprehensively addresses my concerns and consumers should work on the basis that the CDMA network will be switched off," said Conroy.

Last week Conroy received a copy of a report by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) on the coverage of the two networks. It is believed this report has shaped Friday's decision.

Telstra Country Wide group managing director, Geoff Booth, said the telco will continue to work with the remaining customers who may be experiencing issues with new GSM equipment.

"We have been on a path to resolve customer issues by 28 January and we were confident we would meet our deadline. The Minister has made a different assessment, but we are very pleased that he has given us a clear goal for closure, a process to get there, and a clear message to CDMA customers that they need to move quickly."

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Howard Dahdah

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