Next G coverage

Submitted: Wednesday, Oct 08, 2008 at 01:26
ThreadID: 125108 Views:4366 Replies:8 FollowUps:10
This Thread has been Archived
I am thinking about buying a satellite phone. But before I do I thought I would ask what sort of coverage folks are getting with their Next G mobiles. We are planning next year to do Adelaide, Perth, north western W.A. including the GRR and across the top to Qld. After this we are planning more outback travelling. Do I need a satellite phone? I have applied for and been given a very good subsidy by the Govnt but the cost is still over $1000 plus connection.

Cheers,

Jim
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Eric & Gail - Wednesday, Oct 08, 2008 at 02:20

Wednesday, Oct 08, 2008 at 02:20
Hi Jim,
I have a 7db gain aerial fitted to the F250 which gives me 3 to 4 extra bars on the signal meter when we are in fringe areas, but really only extends your range some what. Once you are in isolated areas or even a few kms from town you won't have anything especially some of the areas you are going to, I carry a Telstra Iridium Sat phone which is great, wouldn't be without it, one of our fellow BOG members rolled there BT in Nth West WA on the Tanami I think and the Sat phone saved the day as his wife was traped in an upside down Cruiser.
Hope that's of some help
Eric
AnswerID: 576065

Reply By: Sooty & Sue - Wednesday, Oct 08, 2008 at 02:43

Wednesday, Oct 08, 2008 at 02:43
Absolutely and totally agree with Eric. Great insurance to have with you.

John
AnswerID: 576066

Reply By: Willie - Wednesday, Oct 08, 2008 at 03:57

Wednesday, Oct 08, 2008 at 03:57
Jim,

I swapped from CDMA to a 6120 Nokia Next G and on my last trip to WA from Sydney ( Broken Hill Norseman Halls Creek ) . I reckon I had twice as much coverage as I ever had on CDMA.

My phone is in a cradle hooked up to an antenna on my bull bar.

I only use a sat phone if going out into the desert without the van.

Cheers ,

Willie .
AnswerID: 576067

Reply By: Happy Camper - Wednesday, Oct 08, 2008 at 08:28

Wednesday, Oct 08, 2008 at 08:28
Jim,

I use an RFI 2.1M long 9DBi antennae which increases my range to the absolute maximum for a stick antennae and I use a 15 element 800MHz Yagi antennae for extreme fringe reception, however both are totally useless once one is out of the footprint of NextG/3G. I've travelled remote regions for years and also carry a Telstra Iridium sat phone. Even this will not give you guaranteed 100% coverage ( I recall standing on a sand dune in the Great Sandy Dessert over a hundred K's from the nearest track and not getting any signal...) but it comes so close as doesn't matter. Now should you never use it, who cares!, but should you really need it, it's paid for in 1 call. If your able to afford it, buy it for piece of mind and sell it off afterwards.It takes up less room than a beer and can be used many times over !

Al
AnswerID: 576068

Reply By: Motherhen & Rooster - Wednesday, Oct 08, 2008 at 08:49

Wednesday, Oct 08, 2008 at 08:49
Hi Jim

We got a NextG phone with car cradle and antenna for our recent trip. Reception with NextG only seemed to be in major centres. Really it was useless, as in most cases when in a NextG town, we also had coverage on my GSM phone. We then paid $2,000 for a Sat phone in case of medical emergencies for travel in outback NT. It was a good insurance because we didn't need it. We didn't apply for the Government subsidy as this now needs to be done first (wise move on your part, as it takes some time), although I don't think we meet the criteria. We plan to suspend the monthly payments on the satellite plan until we go away again, but disconnection and reconnection fees apply - I'll find out how much when Telstra finally puts me through the the right section, and this may take days!

I used a Telstra NextG modem for the computer, and when we finally got one that worked, i was able to go on line in towns with NextG. NextG reception was very good at Yulara (Uluru), but no reception of any kind at nearby Kings Canyon. Both of these are major tourism centres for overseas visitors.

You can check where reception is meant to be on the map on the Telstra website:

Site Link

Motherhen

Motherhen

Red desert dreaming

Follow our travelogues, bush camping and other travel hints at www.australiasomuchtosee.com

Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 576069

Follow Up By: Andy1 - Wednesday, Oct 08, 2008 at 20:27

Wednesday, Oct 08, 2008 at 20:27
This is in direct contrast to our experience. We have a Telstra 165, car kit & high gain aerial & have been amazed at the coverage. eg we drove Quilpie - Thargominda - Toowoomba with signal most of the way. The system is vastly superior to the CDMA network. There are of course dead areas in the boondooks but this will always be the case.

Why carry a sat phone for emergency instead of an EPIRB?

Andy
0
FollowupID: 850204

Follow Up By: Mobi Condo - Wednesday, Oct 08, 2008 at 21:09

Wednesday, Oct 08, 2008 at 21:09
Ah! The Old Geograhic vs Demographic Telstra trick shows again Eh!
Yep! 99.x % of Australia (meaning Australians cf the great island extent) shows here. MH was in the vast west of the island, Andy was in the (relatively) more populated east of the island.
We were surprised when at a camp on the Central Gasgoyne Channel south of Newman in WA a fellow rig used their free hour Next G seemingly way out in the donga - but there happened to be a large mine site nearby which had a tower!
Cheers
0
FollowupID: 850205

Follow Up By: Motherhen & Rooster - Thursday, Oct 09, 2008 at 02:34

Thursday, Oct 09, 2008 at 02:34
Hi Ian and Sally

Larger mines seemed to be well catered for (even with GSM) when nearby towns may not be covered. I suspect they pay Telstra to implement the coverage. If you try and work out where the coverage is on the Telstra map, it also seems to be around some major Aboriginal communities.

and Hi Andy

The people who work in Telstra think 99% of the population means 99% of the area - vastly different. Have you ever tried talking to them? Telstra only has to cover the capital cities and a number of major towns and they have their quota. Most of the places we travel are not in NextG range and i doubt will ever be. In case of a medical emergency, and EPIRB will alert someone to search for you, and it may be at cost to you, and may not be immediate. With a sat phone we can call emergency numbers, our family or even a mechanic. Family can also contact us in case of emergency (i have message bank but couldn't work out how to set it up). As John suggested, HF radio is an alternative, and other members of VKS may have local knowledge that can help out further.

Mh
Motherhen

Red desert dreaming

Follow our travelogues, bush camping and other travel hints at www.australiasomuchtosee.com

Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 850206

Follow Up By: Andy1 - Thursday, Oct 09, 2008 at 04:00

Thursday, Oct 09, 2008 at 04:00
Based on our travels I can not bring to mind a town with a pop above 500 that has not had NextG - hardly major towns. In fact, though there must be some, I can not think of a town with pop > "nominal" that has not had NextG.

As noted many Aboriginal Communities also seem to have NextG.

Andy
0
FollowupID: 850207

Follow Up By: Motherhen & Rooster - Thursday, Oct 09, 2008 at 04:33

Thursday, Oct 09, 2008 at 04:33
Hi again Andy - my point exactly; the cover is only in the towns.

If we had a medical emergency or immobilising break-down in a town, calling for help would be simple (a good scream would probably be enough). Not so in the middle of the Tanami or the Great Central Road. Also where possible, we camp well away from towns. Our travel choices are the very reason we purchased a Bushtracker.

If you look at the Telstra map on for example WA, you will see large areas without coverage - there are towns out there. Also my example of Kings Canyon in the NT as a major international tourist destination that has no mobile phone coverage whatsoever. 99% of the population does not equate to 99% of the places we want to travel - more like 1% of the places we travel will have NextG. The sat phone was expensive - but not against the cost of a life.

This news today is a reminder of what can happen:

Site Link

Now i am arguing with Telstra satellite phone section (finally reached them after being transferred to and to Big Pond for about three days) that we want to suspend the service so we don't have to pay monthly fees while not travelling. They agree we were told we could as a condition of purchase, but say they don't do that. Still unresolved.

Motherhen

Looking at that map makes we want to get back on the road again

Motherhen

Red desert dreaming

Follow our travelogues, bush camping and other travel hints at www.australiasomuchtosee.com

Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 850208

Follow Up By: Bobrovin - Thursday, Oct 09, 2008 at 06:04

Thursday, Oct 09, 2008 at 06:04
Hi MH
Why dont you ditch the sat phone plan altogether and use your nextG sim in the sat phone when you are out of nextg coverage
That way you dont have any ongoing charges for the sat phone
You only need to have international roaming enabled on the NextG sim
Calls are exy and are charged to your account on both outgoing and incoming but you are only using it for emergencies
Bob
0
FollowupID: 850209

Follow Up By: Motherhen & Rooster - Thursday, Oct 09, 2008 at 06:40

Thursday, Oct 09, 2008 at 06:40
Hi Bob

One reason was because we couldn't get international roaming on a pre-paid. Also, we would be charged the divert to the phone for all the junk calls. This way keeps it simple, and if we have to continue to pay $30 a month it doesn't take many litres out of the fuel budget.

Mh
Motherhen

Red desert dreaming

Follow our travelogues, bush camping and other travel hints at www.australiasomuchtosee.com

Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 850210

Follow Up By: Motherhen & Rooster - Saturday, Oct 11, 2008 at 04:57

Saturday, Oct 11, 2008 at 04:57
I just got down to the Telstra shop invoice as i am entering a huge pile into my system. We paid $199 for the LG phone, and $349 for the little plastic car cradle (with microphone and speaker), and it broke soon into the trip when travelling on a bitumen road. This charge did not include the antenna or wiring, nor the cost of the technician installing it. Makes the Sat phone look like good value.

Telstra of course never did return my call about investigating the promise we could suspend the account. Do i have three more days to wait on hold and be transferred in circles again? No.

Mh
Motherhen

Red desert dreaming

Follow our travelogues, bush camping and other travel hints at www.australiasomuchtosee.com

Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 850211

Reply By: Grumblebum & Dragon - Wednesday, Oct 08, 2008 at 14:56

Wednesday, Oct 08, 2008 at 14:56
The other option to consider is an HF radio and join one of the HF clubs such as VKS 737. One of the advantages of HF is that it is a 'one to all' system wheras a sat phone is 'one to one' Help may be just down the road.

Listening to the afternoon schedules with calls coming in from all over the country can be interesting and entertaing - our equivalent of bush TV. I only have a basic stand alone set without the fancy features of the new units which include Selcal and Radphone and , I think the latest units have an email facility.

My rig only cost $600 complete with a new whip antenna which has all five VKS bases ansd five RFDS bases purchased through VKS737. The latter is a voluntary organisation that run fives base stations around the country and provide a fantastic service - including emergency message delivery.

Regards John
AnswerID: 576070

Reply By: Freewheelers - Sunday, Oct 12, 2008 at 02:24

Sunday, Oct 12, 2008 at 02:24
Gidday Jim,

We did the GRR and down the WA coast last year, and our satphone on a Globalstar (now Pivotel) plan was comforting insurance. Motherhen and others above are dead right - no NextG for days on end in these remote places, where we switched on the satphone btwn 6-7pm each night so family could contact us in an emergency. We also received the govt subsidy, and are on the lowest 2 year plan, costs $35/month for about 5min of calls. If going ahead don’t delay, you have only a small time window to complete the transaction.

Incidentally, from Darwin, across the Kimberly, and down the WA coast, we also carried both Next G and CDMA phones. This was Aug-Dec 2007, and was deliberate, as we wanted to compare coverage. There were many remote settlements where we got CDMA, but no NextG. Eventually, as the cutoff deadline drew nearer, we rolled with the punches and switched the CDMA to NextG when we got to Perth. Even now, (back east) we have differences in the coverage between the 2 NextG phones (both Telstra 'bluetick' phones for rural use). The LG often has minimal signal between towns, where the Motorola has none; but then, much closer to towns, the Motorola will have full signal, and the LG none – how do you figure that?

An EPIRB is inappropriate for a breakdown or such, where no one is at risk, and we'd be loathe to activate it, thus mobilising expensive taxpayer-funded services, when a satphone would get us out of trouble.

Hope this helps

Cheers
Stephen & Deborah

Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 576071

Reply By: Trekker Bob - Tuesday, Oct 21, 2008 at 23:48

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2008 at 23:48
We bought a mobile / Satellite phone that works a treat.

We also received the susidy and it only cost us 700 for the phone, and we can turn the sat side on and off as we please.

The company we bought it from is TCS R Direct, and www.tcsrdirect.com.au and they delivered it to us.

The sat phone rates are also really good at 65 cents per 30 seconds, unlike other sat plans at $3 per 30 secs.

good luck with your hunt

Trekker Bob
AnswerID: 576072

Follow Up By: Agnes Lifestyle - Friday, Oct 24, 2008 at 03:20

Friday, Oct 24, 2008 at 03:20
Motherhen,

We have suspended our sat phone from time to time. Haven't reconnected for a while so the rules may have changed.
Some employees don't know the rules. Just recently I had an argument with an employee over my landline fees. I was disputing some of the charges and he said that those charges were right. I said that I had the booklet infront of me and that he wasn't correct. He argued until he decided to read the booklet too. The answer was.
"YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY CORRECT MAM. I MUST REMEMBER THAT"

Regards
Dianne
0
FollowupID: 850212

Follow Up By: Trekker Bob - Friday, Oct 24, 2008 at 21:45

Friday, Oct 24, 2008 at 21:45
I have seen some of these posts saying that the sat calls you receive are charged to you.

Our one we bought only charges you for the calls we make.

So if you get these loosers call asking to change your plan you are not paying for it.

Also we can go on a month to month plan and at the moment the first time we connect is free, and to disconnect costs nothing.

Then when we want to arc it up again it will only cost us $30.

Regards

Bob
0
FollowupID: 850213

Our Sponsors