Carrier Matters: Case on point

Telstra mobile phone Base station - Wireless H...

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I have discussed this in a recent post about the importance of mobile phone wireless carriers in the real world.  As people interested and immersed in the tech world, sometime we forget that all these cool devices, technologies and services need to be connected to work.  If you then want the full experience, that connection needs to be there when you need it, and reliable as well.

In the last post, I mentioned how the choice of carrier is really more important than your choice of device.  This can be more so the case in the world of smartphones where most of the experience is reliant on being online.  Remember, though, that another use for the mobile phone device is also to make calls.  Many of us here in Oz picked up mobile phones more so for safety and communication while traveling from home.  But the gist was that people complain about their device, when the problem is really their choice of carrier.

On Saturday the 12th I was doing just that.  I was taking my two young girls to the in-laws, some 4 hours from home, when on a dark and rural road I was second on the scene at a single truck accident. I arrived at a scene my years of computer games, movies, and imagination hadn't really prepared me for.  The driver had dozed off and come off the road, and came to a sudden stop at the base of some established trees on the side of the road.

I slowly drove past the inferno that was once the cab and trailer of the truck and I think I swore, even in front of my girls.  It was so alight that I stopped thinking of survivors, and focused back on getting to safe distance from the possibility of exploding fuel tanks.  The accident can’t have been more than minutes old, but the fire was so fierce that I could only hope the driver had died on impact.

Once past, I saw a woman on the road by her car.  I pulled up in front of her car and got out and heard her yelling she had no signal.  We were kind of in the middle of nowhere, but only about 20 minutes from a major town.  My first thought as I pulled out my iPhone 3GS was that if she had no signal, then what hope did I have?  Well I tried “000” anyway and  I got through, on a couple bars of signal. 

At the time of making the call, I didn’t know that the husband of the woman had actually dragged the driver clear of the cab before I had got there, and that when asked by the operator “Fire, Police, or Ambulance?” my weak reply of “better send all three”, was going to matter.  For the husband’s quick actions, and (if you could have seen the fire that greeted me) bravery, and getting through to get the ambulance quickly, saved the drivers life.

I can’t really say how long I was at the scene but it was punctuated with lots of exploding fuel tanks.  Once the Police and ambulance arrived, I gave my details and left so I wouldn’t be in the way.  The interesting thing was that while I was on the phone and during the time while we waited for help, a number of cars pulled up to the scene.  I was the only one with signal, my carrier was Telstra.

I grew up on the land so maybe my choice of a carrier with better coverage was just a natural one.  But it did surprise me a little that even those who lived in the area had gone with carriers whose coverage is lacking where they live.  This is not a Ad for Telstra as I could fill many posts about their faults, but a call to common sense.  If you want the service, choose your carrier before your device.  My iPhone beat up better phones because I had a bar of service, and they didn’t.  I could use Google Maps to find my location and the nearest crossroad and call for help.

Anyway, I’m proud to share the same first name with Jason, who did something that I can only hope I would have the courage to do if I had been first.  If we catch up, drinks on me.

Jason Remnant

...if it is Broken, sometime all you can do is sit back and enjoy the fuel tanks exploding.