Telstra Coverage WA Coast

Submitted: Wednesday, Oct 25, 2017 at 09:56
ThreadID: 135792 Views:3884 Replies:5 FollowUps:8
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We are finally getting to tick-off the WA coast Broome - Perth. I am interested in purchasing a SatSleeve for my smartphone however I thought I should check what the coverage is actually like first.

Thank you.
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Reply By: Gerard S - Wednesday, Oct 25, 2017 at 10:19

Wednesday, Oct 25, 2017 at 10:19
We are just back from a Kimberley trip.
Coverage up the coast was better than we expected and quite surprising at times. We used WIKI camps to select those over night stops which had reception when we needed it. If you want to use WIKI make sure you download the off line maps so you can use it in no reception areas to locate ph friendly camps.We did the Gibb etc but never felt the need for a sat ph.
AnswerID: 614577

Follow Up By: GaryT53 - Wednesday, Oct 25, 2017 at 10:24

Wednesday, Oct 25, 2017 at 10:24
Thank you Gerard. Answers all of my questions.
PS - how was the Gibb 'traffic wise'?
FollowupID: 885222

Follow Up By: Sigmund - Thursday, Oct 26, 2017 at 13:27

Thursday, Oct 26, 2017 at 13:27
The Great Northern Highway boasts a few Telstra mobile phone towers out in the sticks, to serve the miners at a guess. One of the rest areas has even had wifi installed by the local council.

Here's an Android app to show what mobile services are there: click

Apart from that there's a heap of traffic on that highway, the Gibb and the other tourist accesses out there. It's only when you get onto back roads that you'll usually find yourself alone. In July eg. I drove the Borefield and Muccan Rds in the Pilbara and saw all of about two other vehicles on the move - and half a dozen at Muccanoo Pool.Kintore to Telfer Rd in June - less than ten.
FollowupID: 885240

Reply By: new boy - Wednesday, Oct 25, 2017 at 10:43

Wednesday, Oct 25, 2017 at 10:43
We have just done a trip to a station near Mt Augustus with no coverage and one of the group had a Sat sleeve . As costs for out going calls is high with in coming are at normal mobile rates we arrange for any family to call us between set hours lucky no emergency,s . But the owner did receive several calls the system worked quite well but once you got a signal you didn,t move as it did drop out in saying that overall it worked very well . Cost for the unit was bewtween $800 to $900.
AnswerID: 614579

Follow Up By: b1b - Wednesday, Oct 25, 2017 at 11:23

Wednesday, Oct 25, 2017 at 11:23
And as a sideline thought, Pivotel do offer a casual monthly registration for the Thuraya Satsleeve which is IMHO quite reasonable. My Satsleeve appears to work well (by watching the signal strength bars on the smart phone) although I have not had to use it. The sleeve can also be left in the vehicle and the phone will still connect within a 20m or so range.
FollowupID: 885224

Reply By: maurice b - Wednesday, Oct 25, 2017 at 13:30

Wednesday, Oct 25, 2017 at 13:30
I got cheesed off at the other Sat telco's sat connection and call cost/prepaid expiry so purchased the Thuraya XT lite last year and have kept my isatphone pro . I can confirm that on my $15 per month $1/ min calls, Thuraya xt lite with the optional external antenna "same network as what the Satsleeve is connected to" held a full signal on a 5 week trip Brisbane to Port Augusta then up the the central deserts . My wife told me i answered every called she placed and i never had a problem ringing out. It also received calls with antenna extended while it was in my pocket. I have been told it would be patchy in the vic high country. If you want to txt a lot i would choose the satsleeve as its much easier on you smart phone keys than the predictive txt on the XT Lite
AnswerID: 614581

Reply By: Neil & Pauline - Thursday, Oct 26, 2017 at 11:37

Thursday, Oct 26, 2017 at 11:37
There is quite a bit of coverage down the West coast but there are plenty of holes in reception though. I have helped out so many people (and my self) that need a tow truck and have no phone coverage. $15 a mth is good peace of mind to have phone coverage everywhere.
AnswerID: 614597

Follow Up By: GaryT53 - Thursday, Oct 26, 2017 at 11:43

Thursday, Oct 26, 2017 at 11:43
Hi Neil and Pauline,

What satphone setup do you use?
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Follow Up By: Neil & Pauline - Thursday, Oct 26, 2017 at 14:09

Thursday, Oct 26, 2017 at 14:09
We have a Thuraya stand alone one. From memory it was around the $300 to buy then $15 a month and no contract. We did have a Irridium setup bu expensive to buy and fees
Thought about emergency beacons but decided that most of the time it was to ring RAC or home and not a real emergency.

FollowupID: 885243

Reply By: Dean K3 - Thursday, Oct 26, 2017 at 15:37

Thursday, Oct 26, 2017 at 15:37
If you intend to stick strictly to the coast then TELSTRA 3G or 4GX network is sufficient.

The 4GX is the newer country system and has a redundancy back to 3G system when 4GX isn't available.

Ideally for best coverage you need a phone that has a active external antenna port - few far between though

Its when you get off the main highways that signal loss occurs, typically a very tall hill may have enough gain to give enough transmit strength for a SMS to be sent.

Telstra have a online coverage map to view online.

Always have a redundancy plan for communications be it UHF CB (all heavy transport) have them fitted apart from possibly centurion tpt & Linfox.

PLB HF or sat phone.

Spending alot of $$ on a sat phone for "just in case" for this route is waste of money

if you were to do inland routes via meekatharra up to Mt Augustus then across to carnarvon then sat phone worth while

AnswerID: 614601

Follow Up By: Sigmund - Thursday, Oct 26, 2017 at 21:35

Thursday, Oct 26, 2017 at 21:35
It's worth seeking out a mobile that has been tagged as a 'blue tick' by Telstra. That just means it has a better internal antenna. Makes a difference.
FollowupID: 885245

Follow Up By: Dean K3 - Friday, Oct 27, 2017 at 10:54

Friday, Oct 27, 2017 at 10:54

Partially correct its true that Telstra has a Blue tick for country reception. Which I concede I omitted -not like me to forget that

However when you read their own blurb on mobile phone performance they stipulate that for best performance a external antenna must be attached.

You could argue that this is due to fact when driving your sitting inside a faraday shield and performance will be downgraded compared to standing outside of vehicle (and ideally on top of a big hill)

I do recall once attending a single vehicle accident scene (not first on scene) nobody-else had reception despite being in outer Perth metro area.

I tried using phone normally outside of vehicle no luck. went inside vehicle loss all strength naturally to be expected

Attached antenna which gave bit of gain by 1 bar (signal strength indicator) but still not enough power to make a emergency call.

Ended up using UHF 40 to pass message onto passing heavy haulage who then relayed info to WAPOL when he was back in phone reception another 30 mins away
FollowupID: 885254

Follow Up By: Sigmund - Friday, Oct 27, 2017 at 11:10

Friday, Oct 27, 2017 at 11:10
Yeah, I used to opt for phones with a jack for an external antenna but as you say they're hard to find now.

A couple of huts in the Vic high country have induction antennas. In comparisons with mate's phones they added one bar to their unticked phones and nothing to my ticked unit.

It should also be said that some phones may still have strong reception and have not been submitted to Telstra for testing. iPhones used to be in this category but no longer? I've seen an iPhone get a signal in a corner of the Bogong High Plains where nothing else ever did.

With a standard phone I think the max reception distance is around 50kms line of sight.

Overall, IMO if you're taking back roads to any significant extent you should take a PLB or satphone. Both can be hired.

I've done a lot of outback travel and knock on wood so far have only needed the satphone once, to help out a crashed motorcyclist.

If you're going to stump up for sat comms think carefully about your needs. There are keyboard-based devices that look like elegant solutions - but how will you go if you need a conversation about a mechanical fix or providing first aid? Hunt and peck typing under stress isn't everyone's strength.
FollowupID: 885255

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