ACMA announce audit of Telstra coverage

Rural areas of prime concern

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has selected an auditor to compare the service coverage of Telstra's CDMA network compared to the new 3G network, 3GSM850 (WCDMA).

A trial of the test vehicle, which will drive along a predetermined route to analyze reception coverage, will be held mid-December this year, with the entire project to be completed by the end of next year.

Melbourne-based telecommunications design company Zamro has been chosen to audit the coverage. Zamro staff are expected to sign a contract with the ACMA for the work in the first week of December, 2006.

The first survey team measuring CDMA system coverage will begin work in late January or early February 2007. They will be accompanied by an ACMA engineer and travel along a predetermined route by the ACMA with test equipment designed to measure mobile phone system coverage and other parameters.

Following the benchmarking survey, Zamro will map the coverage using a geographic information system (GIS) developed by ACMA engineers and Zamro staff in order to compare with Telstra's coverage predictions.

The audit team will survey coverage of Telstra's WCDMA (3GSM850) toward the end of 2007 as the ACMA expects significant upgrades to the network before then. Telstra has confirmed the existing CDMA network will not be switched off until 2008.

The ACMA will report the results to the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Helen Coonan, on the audit results when full comparisons of the two networks have been made. Coonan announced the independent audit of network coverage in August this year.