CDMA Vs GSM

Submitted: Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 21:10
ThreadID: 30267 Views:3006 Replies:10 FollowUps:8
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Hi all,

Probably another newbie question.... how comprehensive is the CDMA coverage? is it much better than regular GSM or is a SatPhone still required for most bush trips?

Not that I really can afford a $1500 SatPhone, but don´t want to spend $100 in a CDMA phone that will not do the job.

Thanks for any views,

Henry.-
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Reply By: desert - Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 21:23

Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 21:23
Had CDMA coverage, virtually all the way from central Victoria to Cape York Peninsula, and found it to be better coverage around the lesser known country towns. GSM was good along the main routes, especially coastal. Having both, you are covered provided you are sticking to roads. The Sat phone is more suitable for "off the beaten" track type adventures, ie Simpson or CSR etc.
AnswerID: 151922

Follow Up By: kay_sturgeon - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 23:29

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 23:29
Forget all phones, keep heaps of coin, buy a phone away card, and hope for the best a phone box pops up.

GSM on major routes, CDMA on not quite so major, and the places I go, its wait for the phone box.

Kay

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Reply By: searay27 - Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 21:25

Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 21:25
hey evila I ued to use them a lot when I ws travelling up and down east and west coast and had both gsm and cdma cdma was more superior out in the bush area where it was common not ot get gsm coverage and thru work our drivers would get no reception but cdma would basically get you up and down the east coast a lot better than gsm. have 2 I dont use any more as I have no use for them if you like will sell u both for for 5o bucks.
AnswerID: 151924

Reply By: Member - Willie , Epping .Syd. - Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 21:31

Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 21:31
Two years ago I went Sydney Meekathara with Vodaphone GSM . I had virtually no coverage except in places like Dubbo , Broken Hill and Pt Augusta and Kalgoorlie .
Last year I went again , but with a Telstra CDMA and had coverage in virtually every town I went through .
AnswerID: 151926

Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (Widgiemooltha) - Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 21:58

Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 21:58
except not in menzies, But yea asking about cdma vs gsm is like comparing a commodore and cruiser off road. At cmp and the sites where i work there is no gsm coveradge but good cdma, it is as simple as that
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Reply By: Trekkie - Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 22:02

Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 22:02
CDMA is probably the choice in Australian "country" but as you have indicated does not replace Satellite. Telstra web has a lot of information on it. One point to keep in mind is that Telsta are planning to replace CDMA in the future - there was a recent announcement by Telsta, but not a lot of detail available.
AnswerID: 151948

Reply By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Moses - Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 22:09

Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 22:09
You won't find CDMA beyond Leigh Creek tower to Lyndhurst up the Oodnadatta Track, or beyond Yunta up East of the Flinders. Places like Innamincka, Birdsville, are NO reception for CDMA or GSM for that matter. If you go North to Boulia however you have reception for CDMA. GSM has a 35 km limit from any tower where CDMA stretches quite a bit futher, the limit being the terrain and the location of the tower.

It does depend where you are going and what need you have to communicate each day or every how many days or use a phone card at boxes.

CDMA has a finite life due to Telstra decision and the successor is as yet an unknown quantity. CDMA phones are bound to get cheaper.
Cheers,
Who?
John

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AnswerID: 151953

Reply By: The Rambler( W.A.) - Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 22:40

Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 22:40
If you are going "bush" away from the country towns you can forget about cdma as the only two choices are sat phone or h.f. radio---take your pick!
AnswerID: 151966

Reply By: BenSpoon - Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 22:44

Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 22:44
I went for a CDMA phone and a HF Radio.
GSM has bugger all coverage in the bush and CDMA is significantly better. Its generally only an extra 20km of range but is still a major benefit when 20km thru bush means a 1-4 hour drive. Add a car kit and you get around an extra 20km too.
Sat phone will do you well, but the cost of a months worth of Sat phone contract, you will get a years worth of VKS membership on a HF, and the purchase cost of a Sat phone compared to a HF is identical. If you have used a UHF before, you know how handy a virtually cost-free communications device can be.
If you are interested in remote internet access, CDMA is the better option too.

CDMA can be purchased from telstra shops for as low as $79 and it comes with a phone, phone number and $10 of credit. Get a CDMA on a contract, and you can get a $50 handsfree kit ($350-odd retail).

If you can manage to scam the bush rebate sceme for Sat phones, you can cancel the phone contract even a week after you get the sat phone (to take advantage of the offer while it is still around but not pay sat phone contracts when you dont need them) so long as you dont sell the phone to someone from the city, its all good and you can save up to $1500 on purchase price through the rebate.
AnswerID: 151967

Follow Up By: Dean (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 14:58

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 14:58
Benspoon,
Re: the satphone subsidy. I reckon your right about being able to cancel your contract but, the Telco will charge a hefty fee for doing so, the same as any regular phone contract, its in tiny small print on page 4000 of the contract.
Dean
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 14:08

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 14:08
Henry,

To get a better idea of coverage in your area, or an area where you are travelling to, check out Telstra's Coverage here:- Mobile Coverage

You can also zoom out to get a wider view.
Bill


I'm diagonally parked in a parallel Universe!

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AnswerID: 152067

Reply By: Flash - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 22:25

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 22:25
With a good high gain CDMA antenna on my 'roo bar, I get WAAYYYYY better coverage than the Telstra maps. But it stills runs out eventually- then there's only HF or Satfone..
PS forget GSM when you leave the big smoke- bloody useless.
AnswerID: 152170

Reply By: Shaker - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 23:36

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 23:36
Our experience with the CDMA is that it is absolutely useless. Most times as I lose signal with my GSM phone the CDMA drops out about 200 or 300 metres later!
At times we have little or no signal in the CBD of Traralgon.
We have tried 3 different CDMA phones & have had the same experience with each.
AnswerID: 152192

Follow Up By: Flash - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 14:19

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 14:19
Then you need a different phone and/or external antenna. CDMA is far from useless- sure it's not satellite but neither is the price. I still have my GSM as my main phone- but when I leave town now I turn it off so all calls divert to the cdma. Even on main highways if you make or recieve a call on GSM it'll nearly always drop out as you drive along.
With my Roo bar antenna I'm still on cdma MILES after the GSM has fallen over. Many places I've been, people use my phone because they have zilch on theirs. I researched it all as best I could and eventually bought a Kyocera second hand on e-bay. Car kit and antenna were new from e-bay)

(Kyocera 3035, full car kit, and DFI 6.5Db antenna from memory.)
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FollowupID: 405926

Follow Up By: Shaker - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 18:31

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 18:31
I'll repeat part of the original post as judging by your follow up you may not have read it:

"We have tried 3 different CDMA phones & have had the same experience with each."

The 3 phones were all different makes:
No. 1. Hyundai
No. 2. Nokia
No. 3. Kyocera

Why would I need an external antenna when I am standing in the main street of Traralgon?

My comparison mentioned in my reply was with the GSM & CDMA side by side heading into the bush & watching the GSM lose signal then the CDMA about 300m further on.
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Follow Up By: Mike DiD - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 22:52

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 22:52
The Telstra CDMA coverage map shows CDMA coverage on a Handheld has no gaps up to 8km out of Traralgon, in any direction. It reaches out a lot further but there are some coverage gaps in the valleys.

If your Dealer can't get this working, they have real problem.

Mike
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Follow Up By: Flash - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 23:00

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 23:00
You probably need an external antenna in your main street because you are many miles from the base station.
Otherwise there's something very strange going on there. I'm sure there are places where they'll both die at nearly the same point due to geography, eg: road cuttings, hills, underground, but my point is that is NOT the normal scenario.
In most places the CDMA is way better than GSM once you leave the big smoke, though I might concede sometimes not as good as the old analogue network.... but then there are far more base stations now than there were in those days.
Nearly all "rules" have the odd exception.... but as a "rule" cdma is heaps better. I have at times driven hundreds of miles with nearly continuous cdma coverage and NO Gsm coverage. We are generalising here, after all.
BTW, some Hyundai, Nokia, and Kyocera phones are a lot better than other model Hyundai, Nokia, and Kyocera's.
Cheers
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FollowupID: 406109

Follow Up By: Mike DiD - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 23:40

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 23:40
"You probably need an external antenna in your main street because you are many miles from the base station. "
- not in Traralgon - the coverage is for handhelds, not vehicle mounted with external area.

On the weekend I needed to check for coverage on Wisemans Ferry Rd near Lower Mangrove. I checked the CDMA coverage map - when I got there it was almost exactly as shown on the map.

Mike
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