Telstra yesterday successfully demonstrated it new CDMA (code division multiple access) network at an official launch in Swan Hill, Victoria.
Deputy Prime Minister, Tim Fischer made the first phone call on the network to Telstra CEO Ziggy Switkowski from Swan Hill.
According to Telstra officials, the carrier has been testing its new network in Swan Hill for the past two months.
"Telstra performed drive tests comparing the coverage and voice quality of CDMA and analog network to endure that the new technology addressed the concerns of our analog customers," Lindsay Yelland, Telstra's group managing director, products and marketing said.
"On two of the test drives CDMA coverage exceeded that of analog and on the third test analog marginally outperformed CDMA by only four kilometres and in all test drives CDMA maintained excellent voice quality."
Telstra has already announced it has chosen to work with Nortel Networks on the network which will be commercially deployed in September this year.
According to Yelland, prior to the commercial launch, Telstra will be installing enhanced variable rate codecs on the network. This will improve performance and voice quality of CDMA, Yelland said.
A trial of this extended coverage is expected to take place in May and will be conducted under maritime conditions. According to Yelland the tests will involve removing "the governor" which presently limits CDMA coverage to a 60 kilometre radius. Yelland said the enhanced features have the potential to increase CDMA coverage to 200 kilometres.
In a separate but related announcement, Nokia yesterday announced its has launched its first CDMA mobile phones to the Australian market.
The Nokia 5180 and Nokia 6185 will be available in Australia in the second half of the year to coincide with the CDMA network rollout.