Warren goes walkabout with CDMA

Gone walkabout in Australia with a Telecom cellular phone? No, can't be done...

Gone walkabout in Australia with a Telecom cellular phone? No, can’t be done …

Lion Nathan IT director Darryl Warren proved it can last week, when he took his new CDMA handset with him to Sydney. Warren is part of Telecom’s CDMA pilot, which has connected 2000 users to the new cellular network scheduled to be commercially available next month.

“So far positive,” says Warren of his experience.

He hasn’t yet tried the network’s data capabilities, but from a scan of his Samsung phone’s manual, he expects to be able to take incoming calls while browsing a WAP website.

Like the rest of the country, though, he has no idea what Telecom will be charging for use of CDMA.

The always-on network promises marginally faster data transfer rates in its early implementation — 14.4Kbit/s compared to existing cellular network speeds of 9.6Kbit/s — and the prospect of 10 times that rate later this year.

A Telecom mobile partner has hit out at rival cellular service provider Vodafone, which has fixed pricing for its comparable GPRS network at $30 a MB of data. The Telecom partner, who didn’t want to be named, says Vodafone’s pricing “wouldn’t encourage people to do the cool multimedia things pundits have been leading them to expect” from the faster networks.

While the ability to download movie previews to a cellular handset has been mooted as one application, such files are typically a few megabytes in size, making the cost prohibitive, he says.

Warren says he hasn’t considered whether pricing at Vodafone’s level would be economic. Lion Nathan has been doing extensive testing of mobile data systems and Warren says either CDMA or GPRS will have a part to play in the company’s plans.

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