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A smooth transition to Next G™ essential for the bush

7 August 2007

“THE National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has long maintained that quality affordable mobile phone services and broadband are essential in rural and regional Australia... the license condition announcement by the Australian Government to ensure a smooth and timely transition from Telstra’s CDMA to Next G™ network reinforces the needs of the bush,” NFF President David Crombie said.

“The NFF has been working closely with Telstra on the transition since November 2005 when we welcomed Telstra’s undertaking that “the existing CDMA network... will remain in place until the national 3G service has the same, or better, coverage and services”, and believes that Telstra can achieve this outcome.

“The Next G™ technology is impressive, boasting the promise of quality voice and data services capable of servicing most rural locations across Australia. NFF members are hopeful that these services are on the way, but in many locations and circumstances they are not yet accessible.

“It is not only the smooth transition from CDMA to Next G™ that is necessary. There is also need of a suitable range of handsets – with essential ‘antennae support kits’ – before the full benefits of upgraded systems can be accessible in rural Australia.”

The realisation of Telstra’s 2005 commitment for the provision of “attractive handset deals” so users can take advantage of the new service will continue to be monitored by the NFF.

“Many farmers and rural contractors have existing CDMA antennas that do not directly connect with the new 3G handsets and, therefore, need easy access to the necessary cables to ensure their new Next G™ handset or device can connect to the existing antenna,” Mr Crombie said.

“We look forward to the timely release of a range of suitably robust handsets and car-kits, or equivalent attachments, so farmers and others can get on with their day-to-day activities in rural Australia.”

NFF encourages existing CDMA or Next G™ users experiencing any service difficulties to contact Telstra on 125 111 or the Governments Next G™ Customer Support Unit on 1800 883 488 so transition matters can be addressed promptly.

[ENDS]

Next G™ is a trademark of Telstra Corporation Limited ABN 33 051 775 556

Media Enquiries: Brett Heffernan on (02) 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250

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