Best CDMA deal

Submitted: Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 12:29
ThreadID: 34537 Views:2496 Replies:10 FollowUps:18
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I have an Orange/Three (Hutchison) CDMA mobile - it roams to Telstra CDMA outside the cities. In Aug, Hutchison are shutting their CDMA network in favour of 3G. It will roam to Telstra GSM outside the city. (See post 33841.)

I am looking for a basic CDMA deal for when we go bush. What I'd like to do is just leave the CDMA phone in the glove box in case of emergency - e.g. to order takeaway in Omeo, or in case I prang the Prado. (I think I will accept the Hutchison 3G upgrade offer for use the rest of the time.)

Telstra Prepaid Plus CDMA not only has high call charges (to be expected with pre-paid) but is also subject to short expiry dates - e.g. $30 voucher expires in 2 months, $50 in 3 months.

Best deal I can find for what I want is Southern Cross Telco, which resells Telstra CDMA (amongst other things). BYO handset (e.g. from e-bay or Telstra pre-paid starter pack), then no contracts, no minimum spend, flat rate of 20c/30 secs + 18c flagfall. There is a $5 administration charge if your monthly statement has less than $20 of calls, but that is waived if you get statement by email and pay by direct debit.

If I could bring my Orange handset (Nokia 3105) that would be even better, but I've been told that that can't be done.

Any other suggestions?

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Reply By: Member - Des - Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 12:41

Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 12:41
BTW, the cheap CDMA handsets available from Telstra are Samsung A130 ($99) or Nokia 2125 ($149). Any comments on these?
AnswerID: 176319

Reply By: Grumpy in WA - Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 13:27

Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 13:27
Hi Des,
Unfortunately operator specific information is hardcoded into the phone when manufactured so you can’t get an Orange phone to work on the Telstra network, these phones don’t have SIM cards.

If you can wait, then my suggestion is to wait for the Telstra 3G850 network to be turned on next year, 1st half of year for commercial launch, I expect. This new network will be the same or better than the CDMA and GSM network combined providing the possibility for using the same phone in the city and out in the country. One phone will do all.
AnswerID: 176335

Follow Up By: Member - Des - Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 14:16

Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 14:16
Presumably the Three network 3G phones will then roam onto Telstra's 3G network (instead of GSM) outside the cities.

I understand that Telstra is intending to install 3G capability in the country using their existing CDMA towers, but there still seems to be a lot of doubt about whether the new Telstra 3G network will provide the coverage area that CDMA now does.
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FollowupID: 432371

Follow Up By: Grumpy in WA - Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 15:42

Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 15:42
We are going to have 2 3G networks here in Australia.
1st network: (2100Mhz) “3” and Telstra co owned, densely populated areas only, when outside of the 3G footprint you will roam on the Telstra GSM network. Phones are dual mode: 3G and GSM.
2nd network: (850 Mhz) Telstra only network. Your "3" phone will never roam onto the 3G850 network as Telstra are saying that this new network is for their customers only and no reselling will be available.

The 3G850 network will use all CDMA and GSM base station locations, has the same output power as the CDMA network and phones have slightly better sensitivity resulting in an equal and most probably better new network.
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FollowupID: 432400

Follow Up By: Member - Des - Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 16:09

Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 16:09
Thanks for clarifying that Grumpy.
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FollowupID: 432406

Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 17:35

Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 17:35
But I'm wondering how long it will be until every CDMA site has at least one 3G850 channel - until then you will have limited coverahe from a 3G850 (unless 3G850 sets will also have CDMA)

Mike
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FollowupID: 432441

Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Saturday, Jun 03, 2006 at 11:52

Saturday, Jun 03, 2006 at 11:52
Orange will give you the unlock codes for the phone and then you can go to any reseller and use the same phone
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Reply By: brian - Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 13:30

Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 13:30
Thankyou for your post i understood from orange/3g that the whole cdma network was closing and i would have to settle for the alternative with less range,after your post and checking i find that i can have cdma with another supplier but need new handset,although it is not clear if i can take my old phone no to new supplier.
AnswerID: 176336

Follow Up By: Grumpy in WA - Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 13:44

Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 13:44
Hi Brain,

Orange CDMA network is closing in a few months,
Telstra CDMA network is closing in a few years (Telstra is a reseller to Optus, Southern Cross etc.)
Orange phones can not be used on Telstra Network. In theory an Optus CDMA should be able to swap supplier to Telstra as its all the one network but I don’t know for sure.

3G850 - new network - all new phones
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FollowupID: 432357

Reply By: Member - Athol (NSW, 2527) - Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 14:48

Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 14:48
Hi guys,
having spent the day on the phone to telstra and orange/3 I have found out exactly what you guys have said. I cannot bring my orange/3 phone (samsungN181) across to telstra. I thought it might have been bickering between the two companys but I rang Samsung and they said that it is technically not possible(bugger). So I have to throw away my car Kit as well(double bugger).

My next problem is do I get another cdma phone from telstra for 2 years or change over to the 3G network and suffer the lack of coverage.

If you listen to these sales kids they say you need a new phone every 2 years anyway, I say Crap do I. Ive had this phone for 4 years now and there is nothing wrong with it. I'm starting to think there is some conspirisy out there just to get at us and make us spend more money on Crap that we dont want or need.

Sorry I'm starting to rabbit on but it makes me mad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Athol
AnswerID: 176363

Follow Up By: Gramps (NSW) - Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 15:01

Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 15:01
"make us spend more money on Crap that we dont want or need"

You're on the right track there, Athol. Mobile phones are almost FMCG (fast moving consumer goods).

Try to tell one of these pimply faced kids that all you need a phone for is to make/receive calls and send/receive the odd SMS and they look at you as if you just landed from Mars hahahahahahaha
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FollowupID: 432385

Follow Up By: Grumpy in WA - Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 15:48

Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 15:48
Athol,
If you can wait, then just buy a 3G850 phone from Telstra when the network is launched.

But I'll bet the drawback from the new network will be:
1. If you use a prepaid then I'll bet your credit will only last for a short time.
2. The availability of simple voice/sms only tough phones with decent car kits for outback travels.

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FollowupID: 432404

Follow Up By: Member - Des - Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 16:13

Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 16:13
It galls me to see good phones wasted. My Orange Nokia 3105 will be a paperweight.

At least in replacing their CDMA network with 2100Mhz 3G, Hutchison are offering customers a free replacement handset. Will Telstra do the same when their CDMA network is replaced by 850Mhz 3G? Seems unlikely.
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FollowupID: 432409

Follow Up By: Grumpy in WA - Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 16:52

Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 16:52
I know, its really gets me too. I just bought a new CDMA phone the week before the announcement was made to turn the network off. I know I will get about 3 years of use out of it before the network goes but I was expecting a lot longer out of my phone.
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FollowupID: 432424

Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Saturday, Jun 03, 2006 at 11:54

Saturday, Jun 03, 2006 at 11:54
Orange said no worries to me when I asked them to unlock the phone from their network, they just send the unlock codes and you give them to the Telstra place
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Follow Up By: Member - Des - Sunday, Jun 04, 2006 at 08:25

Sunday, Jun 04, 2006 at 08:25
Was the code specific to a particular handset (e.g. Nokia 1234), or a particular service (e.g. 0425 123 456)? Did it work - did you get connected to Telstra CDMA? (I've read posts on comms forums that have said that it can't be done.)
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FollowupID: 432676

Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Sunday, Jun 04, 2006 at 22:49

Sunday, Jun 04, 2006 at 22:49
Des the codes are handset specific, and I havent done it yet cause Orange dont kill their CDMA till later this year, so I will stick with the $5 a month arrgt till then, but when I called them I told them I want the CDMA for its coverage not 3G not yet and they just sent me the unlock codes for the handset.
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Follow Up By: Member - Des - Monday, Jun 05, 2006 at 07:51

Monday, Jun 05, 2006 at 07:51
Three have told me that they will give me the codes for my old CDMA handset once it is disconnected from their network, but Telstra remains adamant that they won't register a Hutchison-sourced handset on their network.

According to this thread at Austech, the phone has a number called an ESN that is loaded by the manufacturer. The Austn Communications Authority maintains a database of ESNs in Australia. The ESN for each phone is listed for the particular carrier. When you take your CDMA handset to Telstra (or a reseller such as Southern Cross), they will look up the ESN. If it is associated with Hutchison (Orange/Three), they won't register it, but if it is associated with Telstra or one of its resellers (e.g. Optus) they will. There is a discussion in the thread of various devious and complex means of getting around this restriction, but to me the game doesn't seem worth the candle.

Best you might do is sell the handset on e-bay, but I can't imagine you would get much for it given these restrictions.
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FollowupID: 432798

Reply By: PeterWH - Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 15:13

Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 15:13
Can I suggest that you approach Austar as they deal with CDMA.I live in Central West NSW and we have been on CDMA for 4 years and their service is EXCELLENT...

PeterWH
Peak Hill
AnswerID: 176372

Follow Up By: Member - Des - Sunday, Jun 04, 2006 at 08:48

Sunday, Jun 04, 2006 at 08:48
Looked at Austar web site. Their cheapest CDMA plan is $15/month with $10 included calls, on a 24 month contract. Charge on that plan is 50c/30 sec + 25c flagfall. Doesn't come close to Southern Cross on price/conditions for occasional use, although I note your comment about customer service. Maybe you got a package deal with Austar pay TV, Peter?
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FollowupID: 432678

Reply By: Robin - Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 15:21

Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 15:21
That Telstra charge is a recent con by Telstra that has gone almost unnoticed and the $30 min for 2 months is a 300% price rise since May when it was $30 for 6 months. Used to be lowest cost emergency thing around.

Don't know what the immediate answer is - perhaps buy a second hand unit with credit on it.

We brought and loaded pre-paids ahead and ours doesn't run out for almost 2 years.

Note - You may find out of the way pre-paid vouchers still , I think they are available until sold out.

Robin Miller
AnswerID: 176376

Reply By: Member - Oldplodder (QLD) - Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 16:18

Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 16:18
I ahve an old LG DM120 CDMA (6 years old) which I have connected through Itel here in Brisbane. They are Telstra resellers so I get a connection through Telstra, which helps when travelling. Pretty happy with it, best I have had is being able to use it 94k out of Quilpie, outside the car. Couldn't do that with GSM.

I was going to update to a new CDMA too, but am waiting to see what happens. The 3G850 looks hopeful. Luckily my Itel service will keep going until telstra drops CDMA.

Not sure if Itel could help you. They seem to have a little more flexibility on hand sets. I have a commerical plan through the office which is 18c flag fall, 22c/30sec for $8.00 mth, and $8.00 free calls a month.

www.itel.net - or phone 13 36 36.

Know what you mean about these young blokes, my son changes phones every 2 to 3 years. In fact my LG is one of his old phones I got for a good price. But he sends I don't how many SMSs a month, so most probably does wear them out. Told him he could get the phone surgically attached if wanted, but his bike helmet wouldn't go on then.
AnswerID: 176389

Follow Up By: Member - Des - Sunday, Jun 04, 2006 at 09:10

Sunday, Jun 04, 2006 at 09:10
I must be an Old Plodder too (or maybe a Grumpy Old Man, as in the BBC series), because like you I actually want a phone for phone calls, not as a fashion accessory, or for stupid ringtones, or to send inane SMS messages or pix of myself all day!

Thanks for the iTel recommendation: they seem similar to Southern Cross. BYO handset. No min contract period. Lowest-use plan is $5/month, with calls 25c/30 secs + 18c flagfall. Seems attractive for light use.
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FollowupID: 432681

Reply By: Lyds- Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 21:23

Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 21:23
Hey Des, that Southern Cross deal would have been perfect for us a couple of weeks back.

We just wanted a CDMA for occasional use when travelling and for a family member for emergency calls. We looked at the Telstra prepaid and their new pricing made that option too expensive.

We ended up on a $20 month phone plan that included a Kyocera xCursion for $0. Quite a nice phone.

Picked up some accessories off a mob in the US via ebay at a good price to make up for it.

btw, be bought it thru fonezone, we could never get to speak to anyone at the Telstra shop.

AnswerID: 176450

Reply By: Tim - Saturday, Jun 03, 2006 at 00:48

Saturday, Jun 03, 2006 at 00:48
Des,
I have just had the same problem (good work Orange?????).

I bought a nokia CDMA prepaid from dick smith for $65 and the call credit is valid for 6 months, not the 2 that you have said. For an emergency phone, you can't beat it.

Tim
AnswerID: 176486

Follow Up By: Member - Des - Saturday, Jun 03, 2006 at 17:39

Saturday, Jun 03, 2006 at 17:39
The new shorter expiry periods for Telstra pre-paid apply from 16 May 2006. (If you bought since then, it must have been old stock.)

Sounds like you got a good deal Tim. What model Nokia was it?
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FollowupID: 432610

Follow Up By: Tim - Saturday, Jun 03, 2006 at 17:53

Saturday, Jun 03, 2006 at 17:53
Yeah I'd say it is old stock, its a 2112, no camera or anything fancy. It just stays in the glovebox and only gets turned on when I'm on the road.
It also fits in the handsfree car kit for my other digital nokia which is very handy.
Tim
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FollowupID: 432612

Reply By: Member - Des - Tuesday, Jun 06, 2006 at 11:02

Tuesday, Jun 06, 2006 at 11:02
Thanks to everyone for your responses. I think I will follow Tim's example and get a cheap Telstra pre-paid CDMA phone, and go to Southern Cross or iTel.

Telstra charges $149 for a pre-paid Nokia 2125, but I have seen the same pack elsewhere (e.g. K-mart sale) for $89, and cheaper again on e-bay.

Will just see what happens when the Telstra CDMA network eventually closes.
AnswerID: 176984

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