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Telstra fights to shut down CDMA

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AustraliaAustralian carrier Telstra has been trying to bring their Next G service to the continent, which entails shutting down their existing CDMA network by early 2008. However, Australia’s Communications Minister Helen Coonan has blocked the shutdown until it has been definitively proven that Next G will provide equal or better service than the CDMA network, which means Telstra would have to run both for an indeterminate amount of time, which they claim they can’t afford. The whole mess has resulted in Telstra taking legal action against the minister, citing “the Minister has breached her Ministerial duties by making up her mind about the imposition of the license condition to block the closure of the old CDMA network – an integral part of the Next G network plan – even before receiving submissions and evidence from Telstra as to why such a license condition was unnecessary and bad for the bush”. So, who’s right here? Does the minister require an actual side-by-side comparison to tell if Next G will be an acceptable replacement, or is it good enough to have it all on paper?

BlackBerry 8300 lands down under

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SydneyAustralian carriers Optus, Vodafone and Telstra are now packing BlackBerry 8300 goodness. RIM VP Norm Lo took the occasion to talk a bit about the future of BlackBerrys. First off, he’s dashing any dreams of touchscreen devices or 3G anytime in the near future.

“In terms of input mechanisms, we’re looking at different technologies and we continue to assess them on devices,” he said, adding touchscreen inputs “are interesting but we’ll just have to see how they play out.” … Speed is not necessarily a high priority for users. “It depends on the applications you are using — you don’t really need high speed, you need low latency.”

Lo goes on to push RIM’s growing consumer appeal.

“We are finding that about a third to a half of people visiting our website for information on BlackBerry are clicking on ‘for personal use’ rather than ‘for business.’ And in the last quarter we have seen an increase in the number of people walking into a store and buying a BlackBerry handset purely because they like the look of it, and use it just as a phone. Then what happens is once they discover the other things they can do with the device, they go back to the store and get some sort of data plan.”