If you live outside the capital cities and major regional centres you’re no doubt used to doing without some of the things everybody else takes for granted. Sometimes that’s a blessing or even the reason you choose to live in the “bush”.

But choosing to live in the bush does not mean also choosing inferior communications services, for personal or business use. Today, third-generation mobile phones, wireless and mobile data services are now all available in many more rural and regional locations. These technologies are even recognised as being an increasingly important part of rural life, as they help regional businesses to compete more effectively by providing the same class of connection enjoyed by their city colleagues.

So where to start if you live beyond the big cities and want to get connected?

One important consideration is avail-ability of network connections, an area in which the Next G network – as Australia’s largest and fastest national mobile network deserves consideration. The Next G network covers 98.9% of the Australian population. You can check telstra.com to see if you are covered.

Not all phones are equal

If you decide to go with a Next G phone, it is important to let sales people from whom you buy voice or data services know that you live in a rural or remote area. That’s because while all Next G phones offer good coverage, some are designed to operate more effectively in rural or remote areas, especially when coupled with an external antenna or car kit.

These phones will carry the “blue tick”, a sign Telstra uses to show they have been tested and are recommended for handheld coverage in rural areas.

Add an antenna

Another important tactic to maximise coverage, especially if you drive a lot, is to add a car kit and external antenna.
Car kits are important because they let your phone connect to an external antenna, which in turn gives you the chance of capturing a stronger signal so you enjoy top-quality mobile connections. Together, these devices mean you will probably still get excellent service in most locations.

To maximise coverage, if you currently use an external antenna or car kit with your current CDMA device, you should consider a “like for like” upgrade and use an external antenna or car kit with your new Next G phone.

Check when you buy a Next G phone that car kit and external antennae are available, because not every phone supports these devices.

Source: Australian GO magazine