Submitted: Wednesday, Apr 26, 2006 at 22:01
ThreadID: 33281 Views:2171 Replies:10 FollowUps:11
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I know that questions about the best mobile phone comes up fairly regularly however with constantly changing technology I seem to get totally confused. We'll be leaving Perth next month travelling up the coast to Darwin,down to Adelaide and back across the nullarbor. I currently have an ordinary digital mobile without any bells /whistles. Should I look at upgrading to a CDMA or even a G3. Contact with home is necessary with babies due and very elderly in-laws.

Any suggestions would be welcome.
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Reply By: Member - Troll 81 (QLD) - Wednesday, Apr 26, 2006 at 23:59

Wednesday, Apr 26, 2006 at 23:59
CDMA does not give you coverage everywhere. If you need to be contacted get a Sat phone
AnswerID: 169231

Reply By: Neil & Pauline - Thursday, Apr 27, 2006 at 00:22

Thursday, Apr 27, 2006 at 00:22
A digital phone you might as well leave home. I have both CDMA and satelite phones. We have just returned from crossing the nullabor and up the centre to Darwin. I can't recall a day of travelling that we didn't get CDMA coverage at some point in the day, mind you I also have a car kit. Sometimes we camped in areas with no CDMA coverage but felt more comfortable knowing that we did have satelite coverage. The satelite is not as convenient due to the size and it won't work inside or under trees. I am not sure that if I had to make the decission again I would bother with satelite but sure as hell would get the car kit. I have a Kyocera phone which have the best range.
Also you will need to be with Telstra to get the coverage out of the Cities especially in WA. Hope my experience is some help.
AnswerID: 169237

Follow Up By: Member - DickyBeach - Thursday, Apr 27, 2006 at 11:05

Thursday, Apr 27, 2006 at 11:05
Neil & Pauline,
What vehicle do you have? I have a LC80 and a Kyocera Phantom, and the clumsy car kit, mike & speaker have deterred me from fitting it.
FollowupID: 424609

Follow Up By: Neil & Pauline - Thursday, Apr 27, 2006 at 21:07

Thursday, Apr 27, 2006 at 21:07
I have a 2003 Pajero Exeed. I have the speaker in behind the dash. No problem for a half deaf farmer to hear although I was a bit worried when the installer advised that was the best place. The mike is in the centre above the windscreen.
FollowupID: 424698

Reply By: Kiwi Kia - Thursday, Apr 27, 2006 at 07:08

Thursday, Apr 27, 2006 at 07:08
For what its worth I found Vodophone network VERY thin on the ground in the centre and nth of WA. May as well have left it home.
AnswerID: 169248

Reply By: Member - Mike DID - Thursday, Apr 27, 2006 at 07:54

Thursday, Apr 27, 2006 at 07:54
Your Service Provider should have a Coverage Map available on their website so you can check before you leave where you will have coverage.

CDMA is the ONLY network that will have any useful coverage more then 35km out of large centres. Yes, CDMA will be closing down in a few years, but you can't buy any phones yet for the replacement network (3GSM, 3G850)

Satphones will have coverage all over Australia - but you will still have short outages. They won't work indoors and will work poorly in deep valleys and under heavy tree cover. Calls are expensive.

AnswerID: 169254

Reply By: Longreach - Thursday, Apr 27, 2006 at 10:14

Thursday, Apr 27, 2006 at 10:14
You can get a telstra pre-paid CDMA for around $100 so for that price, and given where you are going it sounds like a very small expense for what you need. It wont give you coverage everywhere but it will cover some fairly remote areas and when it does work it will be a lot cheaper than Satelite. As the others mentioned, Satelite needs to be outside. The other less obvious disadvantage of Satelite is that because it needs to be outside (assuming you don't have a car kit) it's a bit tricky to leave it turned on to receive incoming calls. ie. Without a car kit you wont be able to receive incoming calls as you are going along, and when you stop, it's not always easy to leave it out in the open unless you are standing there holding it. Also, Sat Phones use a lot more power when switched on in Sat mode, even in standby, so if you want to leave it on to receive incoming calls you will need to recharge it often. At least this is the case with mine.
In summary, use CDMA for easy, cheaper use to keep in contact with home if you can manage without being in contact all of the time. Sat phone if you have to be in contact everywhere but it has its downsides, and even they dont seem to have reception all the time.
Sorry, one other thing, SMS can be extremely useful with both phone types to keep in touch cheaply when phones are often switched off or out of a service area.
AnswerID: 169283

Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Thursday, Apr 27, 2006 at 16:51

Thursday, Apr 27, 2006 at 16:51
My Motorola 9505 Iridium phone picks a up Satellite signals surprisingly well just sitting on the Centre Console (waiting for calls) - but I would have to have the aerial outside to talk.

If I was expecting frequent calls I would connect it to the external antenna which is supplied in the 9505 kit.

It runs for days on a charge when on standby.

FollowupID: 424654

Follow Up By: Longreach - Friday, Apr 28, 2006 at 10:12

Friday, Apr 28, 2006 at 10:12
Thanks for that Mike. Would you mind answering a few detailedish questions about Iridium if you can ? I am getting very annoyed with Globalstar.
How much do you use it ? That is, how often and how widespread (across Oz) ?
When you switch on, do you always get reception straight away ? If not, what percentage of the time does it work ?
Do you ever get no reception at all ?
What percentage of the time do you get good reception as opposed to drop outs and breaking up conversations ?

FollowupID: 424757

Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Friday, Apr 28, 2006 at 10:32

Friday, Apr 28, 2006 at 10:32
G'day Longreach,

Sorry to butt in and Mike will no doubt answer. I am also on the iridium network and don't use it often but you will get coverage wherever you can see the sky, not effective when shielded by a tree canopy. I have mine on standby the whole trip and use an external earial. I always keep in mind that I need a clear line to the sky and don't have problems. The only issue is that there is a short delay in signal as calls go via Arizona and at time you feel that someone may have hung up.

I lent my phone to a mate for a 3 week trip through central Africa and he made several calls each day without problems. The only issue he had was when broken down he tried to ring the lodge about 100K away and could only do this by ringing home and having his wife ring on a land line (presume there was a local issue).

Kind regards
FollowupID: 424762

Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Friday, Apr 28, 2006 at 14:19

Friday, Apr 28, 2006 at 14:19
The Globalstar Satellites are twice as high (1400km) as Iridium and there are fewer of them (44 vs 66) which explains why you will have more outage times on Globalstar.

I haven't used Iridium enough to give a consistent view of availability. Any outages have been while I was in a valley or under trees. The outages have only lasted a few minutes.

Remember that the cheapest option, if you aren't making frequent calls, is to use your Telstra Mobilenet SIM card.

If you want to have it only for Emergency Calls you don't need a SIM card at all - just dial 112 and you will be connected to an Australian 000 Operator.

FollowupID: 424812

Follow Up By: Longreach - Friday, Apr 28, 2006 at 16:03

Friday, Apr 28, 2006 at 16:03
Thanks Mike & Beatit,
I might just stay with the Globalstar handset foir now. Don't think I could justify the handset cost of changing to Iridium at the moment.
FollowupID: 424837

Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Friday, Apr 28, 2006 at 16:09

Friday, Apr 28, 2006 at 16:09
I bought mine on eBay for $850 in mint condition, but I was VERY lucky.

FollowupID: 424838

Follow Up By: Kim from Globalstar - Friday, Apr 28, 2006 at 16:46

Friday, Apr 28, 2006 at 16:46
Hi Longreach,

My name is Kim and I am the marketing co-ordinator for Globalstar. I look after the advertising that we do with ExplorOz. I see that you have a few concerns with Globalstar at present. I would be more than happy to discuss these concerns with you, and help you out with any issues that you may be having.

Also are you aware that up until April 31st 2006 current ExplorOz members that are Globalstar customers are entilted to 3months half price satellite minutes, as per the ExlporOz newsletter campaign?

Please contact me at , if there is anything that I can do to help.

Kind Regards
FollowupID: 424844

Reply By: 3F62 - Thursday, Apr 27, 2006 at 12:46

Thursday, Apr 27, 2006 at 12:46
Remember with a CDMA (well mine any way) once it is "searching for network" they use a heep of battery. I can go from a fully charged battery to flat in 3hrs of no network cover. Genuine car kit with external 5dbi antenna is a big help

Good luck !!
AnswerID: 169313

Reply By: Keenycruiser - Thursday, Apr 27, 2006 at 15:46

Thursday, Apr 27, 2006 at 15:46
If you go with CDMA, which is very good, then go to the expense of an aerial out front and the connection to the phone. You can get a connection to suit most mobile phones and I found that this gave me coverage nearly all round Australia including Cape York. The main exceptions were the Nullarbor and the top of WA.
AnswerID: 169329

Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Thursday, Apr 27, 2006 at 17:03

Thursday, Apr 27, 2006 at 17:03
Just to clarify - there is CDMA coverage around Cooktown, Laura, Lockhardt River and Bamaga.

If you have a breakdown or medical emergency in the long covergae gaps in between, you will not be able to you use CDMA.

FollowupID: 424657

Reply By: Scrubcat - Thursday, Apr 27, 2006 at 16:56

Thursday, Apr 27, 2006 at 16:56
Further to what Keenycruiser has just said get a CDMA phone that will fit to a "patch Lead" from a 6db "Broom Stick" antenna. Kyocera have one and phone + antenna + lead etc. should cost you no more than about $250.
The 6db High Gain antenna is on Ebay most of the time cheaper than the retail outlets.
AnswerID: 169339

Follow Up By: westskip - Thursday, Apr 27, 2006 at 21:35

Thursday, Apr 27, 2006 at 21:35
Thankyou all for your replies.
It seems that CDMA will be the most effective way to go especially with an outside antenna. So,it's off around the shops again on Saturday.

Thanks again everyone.
FollowupID: 424702

Reply By: Member - Mike DID - Friday, Apr 28, 2006 at 14:06

Friday, Apr 28, 2006 at 14:06
If you are buying a new car phone aerial, I suggest getting one that works on both CDMA and GSM - then it will work for any phone you get (other than 3G or satellite).

The RFI Model Number is CD1795 and it gives 6dB gain from 825-960 MHz.

AnswerID: 169485

Reply By: Kim from Globalstar - Friday, Apr 28, 2006 at 17:01

Friday, Apr 28, 2006 at 17:01
Hi Westskip,

If you would like any information our our dualmode CDMA and Satellite phones which will give you coverage right across australia, I can provide you with any information you need. Something that may be important for you to know about the Globalstar service is that all your incoming calls are free, and the calls made to your Globalstar phone (e.g from home) are only charged at standard mobile calling rates.

We have a special offer running at the moment for ExplorOz members also that entiltes you to half price sat minutes.

Let me know if you want any more info. You can contact me also at

AnswerID: 169520

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