cdma coveridge

Submitted: Saturday, Mar 15, 2003 at 23:10
ThreadID: 3868 Views:2219 Replies:13 FollowUps:15
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Hello all, i recently purchased a cdma phone through orange for the promised increased coverage over std didgital.RESULT i find virtually no improvement in range or coverage,i run an optus didgital along the orange handset in my truck so can monitor the performance of both simultanesly.i have spoken to orange they reply THEY CONFIRM THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH CDMA,but refuse to make it public,anybody else outthere using cdma ,what do you find??? Thankyou in advance.
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Reply By: tristjo - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 00:21

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 00:21
My brother recently bought an LG CDMA phone, and we find the same thing.... Quite often my Nokia digital phone will have full coverage, and his will only have one or two bars, and sometimes i will have good reception when he will have none..... I think his is on a telstra plan, so it isn't related to one particular network. But what i will say is that the cdma has brillint voice clarity when it has range, where the digital tends to break up a little, even though it says it has two bars of reception. At this stage, i don't beleive a mobile phone of any description is really any good in the sticks, thats the territory of HF radios and satphones.
So dont worry mate, your not alone.
AnswerID: 15284

Reply By: Redjack - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 02:39

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 02:39
My wife has a Hyundai CDMA through Orange - noticed voice quality on Orage cells is not as good as when roaming to Telstra cells. I've had a Qualcomm CDMA phone through Telstra since 1st week of CDMA operation in Australia, found coverage to be excellent. There is no GSM coverage in many rural NSW areas, only CDMA - there are coverage maps on Telstra web site for GSM and CDMA services. "Signal strength" bar graph on phone is actually a combination of received signal strength and bit error rate. Voice quality is still good with no bars in graph, unlike GSM which will be dropping bits of call.
AnswerID: 15287

Reply By: Old Soldier - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 07:51

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 07:51

I've had telstra CDMA for 2 years now and am quite happy with it.

I live in a rural area, and whilst you are never going to get full coverage in this big brown land, I have found that it is far better than GSM

Last year when travelling the Queensland outback in company with some friends we noticed that we were back in coverage long before they were on their GSM.

In one instance [coming into Cloncurry from the Gulf] we were in cover almost 30km out, and they did not come into range until about 10km out of "The Curry"

enjoy the bush


AnswerID: 15291

Reply By: Lloydy - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 07:56

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 07:56

My wife bought one through Telstra, she has noticed no difference in the city than her old digital phone. (Not that she was looking)

We were in Oxley wild rivers at christmas and the coverage of the CDMA phone in the bush compared to my digital was quite amazing.

Obviously it will not as good as sat phone etc but for what it is, it went well in the areas we were in.


Off to Accessorise some more
AnswerID: 15292

Reply By: Bob Y. - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 09:29

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 09:29
Brian, Once you're in the bush/outback you don't have a choice, so CDMA it is. I can't really comment in a comparison between the 2, as we have only CDMA. The coverage from Winton to Brissy has improved to the point where there is only a few kms between each town, where coverage is down. Of course this is with a 900mm aerial on bullbar. The system gets our vote, until satphones come down in price, or we decide to crank up the HF again.

Don't know if it is still the case, but some of those other GSM carriers didn't work, in places like Longreach. The case may be changed now. From light aircraft, one make CDMA calls in some amazing places, hundreds of kms from nearest cell. Not a popular activity with the powers that be. Hooroo...
AnswerID: 15299

Follow Up By: Old Soldier - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 11:46

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 11:46
Hey Bob,

I see you're still looking for an excuse to crank up the old HF again.

Can't say I blame ya mate :) :) :) :)

FollowupID: 9304

Follow Up By: Member - Mike - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 11:51

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 11:51
Similar experience with CDMA in SA. With large aerial, romps home ahead of GSM which is often no show.
MikeToo little time in the bush!
FollowupID: 9305

Follow Up By: Old Soldier - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 11:53

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 11:53
Seriously, how do you find the 90mm antenna?

I am thinking of adding one to my bullbar as I spend most of my time on rural roads, and would just like something to get that little bit further.

enjoy the bush

FollowupID: 9306

Follow Up By: Member - Mike - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 12:07

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 12:07
Old Soldier, Hi, had mine since analogue days. With car kit works very well. Tied to Qualcom 360(?) which originally took both signals. Phone is simple and I think that this is why it beats some of the other ones. - no SMS out for example.
MikeToo little time in the bush!
FollowupID: 9308

Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 12:18

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 12:18
Dennis, We bought a Mobile One CDMA aerial from Dick Smith, plus a cig lighter/aerial loom to suit wife's Hyundai 120E phone, for <$150, a couple of years ago. As most of our phone use is travelling to Brissy, and back once a year, we haven't set up a cradle for it yet. In areas like Tambo -Augathella, depending on weather, and time , we can pick up signal up to 60km from a cell. This means there's not much of time that you're out of range. Think much depends on situation of cell, Boulia is only good for 25-40km, even with good aerial. Cell is near town, and not on high spot. Also the 900mm whip is not "in your face" like the UHF 2 M whips.

On HF, was looking at a Codan X-2, we have here yesterday, and thinking it will have to go into new turbo work ute next month. Interested, and disappointed to hear the new tojo turbos are producing a lot of RF, supposedly incurable. You might have some thoughts on this, Dennis, without putting you on the spot. Think injector pump is problem.
Thanks followup, regards. hooroo...Bob.
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Follow Up By: Old Soldier - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 15:37

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 15:37
Mike and Bob,

Thanks for the feedback on the antenna. WIll look into it.

Bob - I think Alzheimers has got me on that one. It's years since I gave serious radio theory even the slightest bit of thought.

I think that if the problem is spurious RF energy it could be filtered out somewhere before the first I.F. stage of the gear - not sure.

Possibly not the sort of job you could do in the back shed [depends on the back shed of course :) :) :) ]

It is worth talking to a responsible radio technician next time you're in a town of some size. I think it might be able to be fixed

Sorry can't do any better than that mate. As I said - the old Mate Al Zeimer is around the place :)

Brian - sorry about hijacking your thread mate.


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Follow Up By: Redjack - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 19:15

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 19:15
Bob, The reason CDMA doesn't always have a real long range is that the system depends on recieving the packets of data from your phone within a given window of time. This limits the range to around 40 kM from the cell. However - there is an exeption. Base stations can be converted to "boomer" cells, in which the timing interval is fudged to allow calls from up to triple the distance of a basic cell. This does reduce the volume of calls that the cell can handle so is generally used in places like Mt Dowe in NSW, fopr example, where coverage in a radius of up to 100kM can be achieved over the mostly flat terrain. The 900mm aerial certainly help too, especially in hilly or tree covered areas. Thats the next thing I won't to get, as I only have a through glass short whip aerial now.
FollowupID: 9323

Reply By: Member - Motley - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 09:32

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 09:32
Brian, I have also just purchased a Nokia CDMA on a Telstra Plan for use in country areas. So far I have found that once out of major cities, coverage seems more extensive and signal strength definitely better between urban areas. I have had several instances of zero GSM coverage at spots in SE NSW and NW Victoria where CDMA still worked

Not sure whether this is relevant to your case, but I have set up to use the Infrared capability of the phone as a modem for my Notebook PC so I can send/receive e-mail. Whilst the GSM network operates at about 9600 bps transmission speed, the CDMA is connnecting at 28,800bps!

I know these connection speeds are not always right, but a timed test showed a significant lift in trasmission speed through CDMA.
AnswerID: 15300

Follow Up By: Jeff - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 19:23

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 19:23
To what member Motley posted, it is true that the CDMA can connect faster than the GSM network, it is said that the maximum speed is 14,400bps. I suspect that the 28,800bps speed is being reported by the computer by how fast it is communicating between itself and phone, not the computer and the internet (it's common especially if the modem connection is set to Standard Modem in Windows, I once was connected at 115,200bps! But it was the speed between the modem and computer only, so no luck there!) However, if you did connect at 28,000bps, let me know how you did!

FollowupID: 9324

Follow Up By: Member - Motley - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 19:51

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 19:51
If I connect through the Public Switched network to Telstra Big Pond, I normally connect at around 50 Kbps. That's what the connections speed is reported as on my PC. When I dial to the same Big Pond number on my GSM phone it tells me that the connection speed was 9600 bps. When I dialled through my CDMA phone, it reported the connection at 28.8 Kbps. I know there is variation in all this stuff.

However the constant swere the PC and the Big Pond dial up number. I ran a short test and am in no doubt the CDMA connection is faster than GSM. I maintain a Telstra Big Pond account because I have one dial up number Australia wide for the cost of a local call (over PSTN) I will know when I get the next bill what costs are like over mobile.

For the moment though, all I have had to do was download the modem drivers from the Nokia site and I was away! The service provides me with access to email when I am in CDMA coverage without having to worry about a trip to town to an Internet cafe
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Follow Up By: Jeff - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 20:58

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 20:58
Have you ever used other CDMA phones for data other than the nokia (is yours the 6385?) I knew CDMA was faster than GSM, but at 28.8 it sounds great! One place to check you download speeds is . Thanks for the reply! (Sorry Brian for diverting your post a little!)
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Follow Up By: Member - Motley - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 22:50

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 22:50

Yes it is a Nokia 6385. I'll have a look at the site you mentioned and provide some feedback.

Brian - my apologies as well!
FollowupID: 9342

Reply By: Jeff - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 19:35

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 19:35
I am currently investigating the option of CDMA over GSM for a round Australia trip. Along the eastern coast, CDMA and GSM generally has the same coverage, and some GSM coverage along the highways might be better as it has been around for longer and CDMA is still being expanded.

However, once you leave the east coast and go inland, or around the rest of Australia, CDMA is by far the best. When I looked, between Cairns and Katherine, Telstra GSM is not available, where as CDMA there are about 4 base stations.

Another thing to consider as well (to which I think has previously been mentioned) you don't necessarily need bars/signal indicators on your CDMA phone to actually have coverage (according to Telstra CountryWide CDMA documention). So you may be experiencing areas of CDMA coverage but it just doesn't show up!

There is also a new high speed data service available on the CDMA network in metro Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, with speeds of up to 150kbps! And you are connected all the time so you don't have to worry about dialling up all the time.

The catch? It's not in regional areas, you need a compatible handset, only available through Telstra CDMA (as far as I know) and it can be pricey. 10kbs of data costs 20cents. So a 1 megabyte photo would cost $22 approx. to download!

However, dialing up using Telstra's Mobile Internet (only available from Telstra GSM and CDMA) connecting at 14,400bps on a CDMA phone and getting the maximum speed, that 1 meg file would cost about $2 off peak! or on GSM at 9,600bps at maximum speed would cost about $3 off peak (this is a rough estimate not taking into consideration network congestion, signal strength, my brain strength, any extra call costs, etc) Dialling 0418707638 you pay 16.5cents per 30secs 7am to 7pm Mon-Fri, and 8.25cents per 30secs all other times plus 22cent flagfall.) It's just a little slower thats all.

Visit for more info

And thats about it! Remeber, please check out all of the information first before really taking any of my information seriously, as I could be wrong!
AnswerID: 15317

Reply By: CJ - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 19:53

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 19:53
Hi Brian,

I'm sure you've received enough answers but for your info, I live in the midwest gascoyne and with the car kit installed including the external aerial I get range 70kms from the repeater in my local town. It's actually more effective then the mobile HF which is linked to a frequency back at the townsite. Obviously there's a black spot for HF's over this relatively short distance but the CDMA makes up for it. I also heard a little rumour that eventually CDMA will take over digital coverage all together and the same thing will happen all over again as with the analogues but I never said that.
AnswerID: 15318

Follow Up By: Jeff - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 20:39

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 20:39
When CDMA first came out, everyone though it was the bees knees of mobile technology and would replace the GSM network. But it was a rumour, nothing else (for now)

So much money has been invested in the GSM network that it will never be shut down or not for a very long time. However, CDMA may overtake GSM with it's better coverage and features in the future, especially in the next generation of mobile phones.

The only reason analogue was shut down was because of it ease of hijacking your service and charging huge phone bills up or listening in to important information like bank details, etc. However coverage could extend alot further than CDMA, but not neccessarily better quality sound or the features!

Don't forget GSM and CDMA are both digital technologies, but GSM is a specially designed system.

GSM is actually a combination of TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) and FDMA (Frequency Division Multiple Acess) technologies along with other features. So in the future, expansion of features will be limited.

CDMA, TDMA (used in the US) and FDMA are the basic technologies, so expansion is virtually unlimited in what it can provide, especially with the third generation of mobile phones soon to be released. Maybe that's when GSM will be overtaken!

I hope that helps (and not to confusing!)
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Reply By: David - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 20:01

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 20:01
CDMA -no matter what anybody says- aint what it should be! Yes it's better in the bush but that's because GSM is designed not to work beyond about 10Klms from a station. GSM was designed for urban areas specifically europe.
With a masthead antenna on my boat plus all the right gear it still does not match what my old hand held Nokia Analogue could do!!!
We got sucked in with the whole setup!!!
AnswerID: 15319

Follow Up By: Jeff - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 20:45

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 20:45
I would say 90% of the people who change from analogue to CDMA did and still dofind it difficult to get the same results from the new network. GSM is only for urban areas (coverage can actually reach 35km from a GSM tower) and CDMA was intended to give longer distance (up to 120km from a tower). However, not all of the towers installed are acutally designed to give the full 120km range, or if they are they are not high enough. Analogue was great because of the way it worked to get distance. Even though the conversation may have been very hard to hear or you were getting interference, you could still call someone. Digital technologies (like CDMA or GSM) give you the opposite, you either have perfect reception or none at all (that's why it cuts in and out, not fade in and out like analogue).

While it's good you can get crystal clear conversation and all the fancy features of CDMA or GSM, you would easily give it up for that scratchy conversation if your life depended on it.
FollowupID: 9332

Reply By: Michael - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 20:46

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 20:46
Hi Brian, my wife and i got a Telstra, Samsung CDMA phone each, at the top of our property there is a GSM tower, we always got full signal all the time with GSM, With our new CDMA phones sometimes drops out, fuzzy, sometimes like someone is belting a 44 gallon drum. The clarity is awful. You can be standing in one spot and the signal goes up and down and usually drops out, My wife complained to Telstra , they want to lend her another phone and go that path,BUT its the system, its substandard and i think we have been sucked in to it.Orange is promoting the same tiny Samsung phone with no indication that it is CDMA, Its criminal really. mIchael
AnswerID: 15329

Follow Up By: Jeff - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 21:04

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 21:04
The same thing happened with my Hyundai CDMA phone. Sitting in one spot the signal would go up, down, then disappear, and back.. you get the story. Sounds like your from Vic or NSW if your mentioning Orange, I hope your not in the areas where some people have been using illegal phone boosters with their phones. It causes other phones on the network to get kicked off, or lousy reception at best. If that's not the problem, I hope it's just teething problems in the coverage and that they get better reception to you soon! Cheers!
FollowupID: 9335

Reply By: bozo - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 21:02

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 21:02
Buy only a Quality handset and connect it to Telstra with a 900mm antenna and you won't look back. (love mine!)
AnswerID: 15335

Reply By: Member - Bob L - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 21:35

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 21:35
Theres enough misinformation here to sink a battleship.
1.Both GSM and CDMA are digital systems.
2.Orange do not have a CDMA system.(They use Telstra).
3.Telstra will continue to expand CDMA to include most towns with population over 500 (Gov inititive).
4.GSM (Telstra) coverage is not expected to grow.
5.GSM has a maximum range of approx 34km - Ericsson are working to increase this but havent heard anything lately.
6.CDMA has no limit in range hence use of the highly illegal boosters to obtain signal. Unfortuneately these same boosters stuff up the system for all users when used close to tower.
7.Towers can be designed to radiate along highways with little service to the sides,hence reports of poor coverage close to tower.
8.Mobile phone coverage is available to approx 96% of the population but only 4-5 % of the landmass.
9. The decision to close the analogue network was a political decision and not Telstra's and believed to be a condition of Optus and Vodaphone entering the GSM arena.Telstra purchased the licence for the old analogue frequencies for its CDMA Network. CDMA technology evolved after the decision to go GSM.
10. If Analogue was still here it would not be able to handle the volume of traffic now experienced.

The systems not perfect but is the best there is for now.
PS I work for a country based communications company and have heard most of the fact and fiction going around.

AnswerID: 15338

Follow Up By: Redjack - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 22:56

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 22:56
Bob L,
Orange do have their own CDMA system in capital cities and major regionals. Orange phones roam onto Telstra CDMA when not in an Orange coverage area.
My guess is that GSM will be allowed to die a natural death over the next 3 to 5 years, as it is at the end of it's development.
CDMA is range limited by the timing requirements in the data packets, as I described in an earlier reply. USING A BOOSTER AMP DOES NOT IMPROVE YOUR RANGE. All it does is stop other people from using the system. If you have a booster GET RID OF IT!
The analogue sytem was shut down by the government as that was a condition demanded by Vodaphone for their entry into the market. The GSM technology couldn't compete with the AMPs analogue system freely, so the AMPS system had to go to satisfy the Keating goverment "free market" logic. Dickie Alston had a chance to renege on the agreement but failed to. Mind you, the AMPS system in Australia was was never developed to it's full capability. The Australian AMPS equipment was resold to be used overseas. The AMPS system in USA has only recently started to naturally wind down.
FollowupID: 9343

Reply By: Beddo - Monday, Mar 17, 2003 at 18:30

Monday, Mar 17, 2003 at 18:30
I've got Orange CDMA and just for interest on coverage up at Cape York - I could call out at Weipa, just south of Archer River roadhouse, Chill Beach, Bamaga and Punsund Bay. This was back in Aug/Sept last year.
AnswerID: 15387

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