Travelling the Great Central Road - Phone/Internet access?

Submitted: Tuesday, Feb 05, 2019 at 16:28
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we are intending driving the great central road in a few months time, so iam very interested to know if there is any mobile phone coverage.
i have read a previous thread on this subject, but it was date 2008 and there was NO mobile coverage back.
is there mobile coverage now in 2019?

robert
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Reply By: The Explorer - Tuesday, Feb 05, 2019 at 16:53

Tuesday, Feb 05, 2019 at 16:53
Hello

This map shows telstra coverage..

Coverage map

Cheers
Greg
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Follow Up By: Member - astrowa - Tuesday, Feb 05, 2019 at 17:57

Tuesday, Feb 05, 2019 at 17:57
hi greg
thanks for the map it was very helpful.
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Friday, Feb 08, 2019 at 20:52

Friday, Feb 08, 2019 at 20:52
We did the GCR in 2017, very little coverage, mostly in the communities. Once out on the road, no coverage at all.

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Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Tuesday, Feb 05, 2019 at 17:14

Tuesday, Feb 05, 2019 at 17:14
June / July last year we had nothing (Telstra) between Parallel No 2 and Tjukayirla / David Carnegie Hwy.
You may get something in Warburton and such places.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Tuesday, Feb 05, 2019 at 19:12

Tuesday, Feb 05, 2019 at 19:12
Recall that we got service, after exiting Sandy Blight Track, at Docker River, Yulara & Erldunda.

If mobile service is really important to you, I'd suggest you pull over when passing Docker River, as the phone range doesn't last long @ 100kmh. After Warburton, don't think there's any more coverage until Laverton?

Bob



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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Tuesday, Feb 05, 2019 at 20:45

Tuesday, Feb 05, 2019 at 20:45
Yes, for sure re Docker etc Bob, pretty much marries up with the Telstra map Greg posted the link to.
The external antenna would make a bit difference from the look of the map detail.
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Reply By: Member - sparra - Tuesday, Feb 05, 2019 at 19:22

Tuesday, Feb 05, 2019 at 19:22
I have had reception at Warakurna couple of years ago,stopped at the turnoff to town and checked emails on my IPad and checked my phone for messages.

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Sparra
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Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Feb 05, 2019 at 19:53

Tuesday, Feb 05, 2019 at 19:53
.
I think any connectivity you get along there is from indigenous community transmitters and they are very local and can be unreliable.
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Allan

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Reply By: Michael H9 - Wednesday, Feb 06, 2019 at 08:16

Wednesday, Feb 06, 2019 at 08:16
I've been very surprised to find Optus coverage in some remote locations all over the place. They've been putting local towers in Telstra dead spots. I think you can only get Optus in Marree and William Creek for instance. I had no Telstra coverage there, the phone saying "Emergency call only" and my friend's Optus phone had signal. I read of a few up in the Kimberley as well. Even Hill End near Bathurst has full Optus signal and very patchy Telstra. I have a dual sim phone and I'm contemplating putting in ah Optus sim as well as my Telstra due to the number of times I've been surprised by this in remote places.
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Follow Up By: Duncan2H - Wednesday, Feb 06, 2019 at 09:15

Wednesday, Feb 06, 2019 at 09:15
Ilkurlka on the Anne Beadell.. another Optus only spot in a remote location. I've taken to carrying both an Optus and Telstra mobile phone now.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Wednesday, Feb 06, 2019 at 11:32

Wednesday, Feb 06, 2019 at 11:32
Gem Tree, on Plenty Highway, has Optus WiFi available.

Bob

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Wednesday, Feb 06, 2019 at 15:22

Wednesday, Feb 06, 2019 at 15:22
.
Optus has embarked on a program of filling-in some of Telstra's holes.
Picking-up-the-crumbs so to speak.

The apartheid in our mobile phone system is getting even worse.
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Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - Robert1660 - Thursday, Feb 07, 2019 at 22:05

Thursday, Feb 07, 2019 at 22:05
I have heard that a number of Indigenous Communities have rejected Optus towers as their neighbouring commuities have Telstra infrastructure. Thus if they visit such communities their phone would not work. It is about time that when outside major population centres all mobile phones should have access regardless of the carrier.
Robert
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Follow Up By: Baz - The Landy - Friday, Feb 08, 2019 at 08:53

Friday, Feb 08, 2019 at 08:53
"It is about time that when outside major population centres all mobile phones should have access regardless of the carrier."

Robert, totally agree. In this day and age communication is an essential service and the government of the day should be taking the lead on this and not leaving it to the various carriers.

Cheers, Baz - The Landy
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Saturday, Feb 09, 2019 at 13:53

Saturday, Feb 09, 2019 at 13:53
In that case one carrier would providing a free service to subscribers of the other provider. Maybe carry a dual Sim phone with an Telstra & Optus SIM cards?

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Follow Up By: Zippo - Saturday, Feb 09, 2019 at 14:42

Saturday, Feb 09, 2019 at 14:42
Shaker: "In that case one carrier would providing a free service to subscribers of the other provider."

Vodafone had submitted a proposal to ACCC last year for this free regional roaming "in the interests of the public" which sounds all very generous. It was a thinly veiled attempt to get something for nothing (spend b-all $$ after Telstra and Optus had spent billions on regional infrastructure). Their proposal was knocked back. Among other things it would have provided a significant disincentive to any network operator to do ANY new installations in those areas, and that would not serve the interests of any users.
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Follow Up By: Baz - The Landy - Saturday, Feb 09, 2019 at 16:00

Saturday, Feb 09, 2019 at 16:00
Well...

Perhaps that is why some services, particularly "essential" services, like communication, should never find their way into private hands - governments have embarked on a program of selling off public assets, to raise money, and under the guise that private enterprise will run it more efficiently.

I'm not sure this approach has served the "average Aussie punter" that well at all...

Sale proceeds, which usually is under market value, is often "squandered" by those in charge of the public purse, and private enterprise has shareholder interests, not the "average Aussie punter" interest at the fore.

At least that is my two bob's worth.

Cheers, Baz - The Landy
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, Feb 09, 2019 at 16:07

Saturday, Feb 09, 2019 at 16:07
.
Baz, I totally agree with you. That is my favourite 'hobby-horse'.

The three security essentials are power, transport and communications.

But wait until this country is threatened by conflict and they will all be taken back into government control..... only to be handed back again at conflict end!
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Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - Robert1660 - Saturday, Feb 09, 2019 at 17:02

Saturday, Feb 09, 2019 at 17:02
Interesting discussion here. I agree with Allan and Baz but there should not be this issue of connectivity if your carrier does not have a tower in a particular area. Of course I am referring to OUTBACK locations not major cities. If this was possible I would suggest that the calls on the opposing network be at a premium rate and not part of your standard Included Calls contract. I do appreciate that Vodaphone wanted something like this and of course with their CITY only coverage it is to be expected. The other alternative is of course dual sim phones and the concept of electronic sim cards. I believe that the Aus carriers are not too keen on allowing electronic sim cards although I believe new iPhones have this capability. I have used this with my iPad in Canada to obtain a GiGSky internet plan. It worked extremely well and required only a software selection of which sim card to use, Telstra, which was physically installed or GiGSky which was electronic.
As an aside when travelling overseas I use a Telstra Roaming Plan. It is expensive, $10 per day, but you never have to worry about network issues. The phone will connect to any available carrier although I sense that they seem to rotate carriers if two or more are available. Regardless in both UK and Canada my Telstra phone can always connect. Thus, why not here in some form?
Robert
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Reply By: Member - Boobook - Wednesday, Feb 06, 2019 at 11:15

Wednesday, Feb 06, 2019 at 11:15
And don't forget, if you have a recent Telstra supplied phone, on a Telstra plan you can make phone calls when you get to a hotspot or wifi. The phone must support Voice over Wifi and be supplied by Telstra for it to work.

Make sure Voice over Wifi is enabled on your phone.
Tony
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Reply By: Baz - The Landy - Wednesday, Feb 06, 2019 at 16:12

Wednesday, Feb 06, 2019 at 16:12
Astrowa

Personally, I think the bottom line is unless you can get full coverage for the area your are travelling in from your "mobile" you need an alternative form of communicating, especially if travelling in semi-remote or remote areas.

After all, once out of range, whenever that might occur, your communication ability is extremely limited, possibly to passing vehicles who have alternative forms of communication!

Noting, you will not get mobile coverage for the length of the GCR; in fact, for very little of it outside of communities.

Consideration should be given to a Sat-phone, HF Radio, or something along the lines of a Spot Device, which communicates, via satellite. And I see you have another thread running on Sat-phones...

Good luck,

Cheers, Baz - The Landy
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Follow Up By: Member - astrowa - Wednesday, Feb 06, 2019 at 16:28

Wednesday, Feb 06, 2019 at 16:28
hi baz
your advise if spot on mate 'thanks'
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Reply By: Zippo - Friday, Feb 08, 2019 at 11:50

Friday, Feb 08, 2019 at 11:50
As others have said, there is coverage in spots. Only spots, and not many either.

Your best advice is to study the coverage maps provided by the three network operators (Telstra, Optus - and yes, even Vodafone, you never know ...).

Telstra RETAIL (Telstra, Boost only): see here

Telstra WHOLESALE (all Telstra MVNO's except Boost): see here

Optus (and their MVNO's): see here

VFAU (and their MVNO's): burrow down here (they don't show it directly as a map, or their severely limited regional coverage would be immediately visible).

Know your phone: does it have 4G, is it VoLTE capable and enabled on the phone AND NETWORK (Telstra RETAIL and Optus/not-MVNO's only) as this is needed for voice calling over 4G, etc etc to determine the effective coverage.
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Feb 09, 2019 at 15:15

Saturday, Feb 09, 2019 at 15:15
Hi Robert

In a nut shell, you are travelling into a remote area and the only reliable communication out bush is either HF Radio or a satellite phone, and please do not think otherwise.

It’s alright to say you may get limited coverage near the couple of Aboriginal Communities along the drive, but brake down along the way and your usual suburban phone will be totally useless and only a HF Radio or satellite phone will get you out of trouble in case of emergency.

It’s a good drive.


Cheers


Stephen
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Reply By: Lurchwa - Sunday, Feb 10, 2019 at 01:23

Sunday, Feb 10, 2019 at 01:23
We are planning on doing the same in May and are taking a sat sleeve for emergency comms.
The lack of a mobile signal is part of the appeal to be honest.
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Reply By: ChrisVal7 - Thursday, Feb 14, 2019 at 06:46

Thursday, Feb 14, 2019 at 06:46
We drove the GCR from Alice to Laverton in August last year, and found there was Telstra mobile phone reception in every Aboriginal community on the road. Even Tjukayirla had good reception. As others have noted, the reception usually only extends a few kms out from each town.

Clearly you need some other form of communication for emergencies in between communities.
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