Pensioner fed up with Telstra

A 72-YEAR-OLD cancer patient who has had two heart attacks has taken aim at Telstra after she got locked into a contract in an area where she cannot get coverage.

Monica Orman said she bought a special Telstra explorer phone with mini aerial to get mobile phone reception at her holiday house at Lostock, north of Gresford.

She said Telstra assured her she would get coverage, but now she is paying $98 a month for no coverage.

It’s just one of a number of telecommunication hurdles Miss Orman, a pensioner, has faced while trying to set up communication.

Click on the phone graphic to find out what Herald readers had to say about mobile coverage in that area. Email news@theherald.com.au to contribute.


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She said that because she was only a permanent part-time resident of Lostock, the government refused her satellite television access, which would have enabled her to use online telephone service Skype.

She was also refused a landline because of the cost and she cannot afford a satellite phone.

Miss Orman has thyroid cancer and is an insulin-dependent diabetic and asthmatic who needs phone access. She recently upgraded to a special Telstra aerial but it only gave minimal reception and did not work in bad weather.

‘‘The aerial is so flimsy that a big storm will wreck it,’’ she said. ‘‘Telstra assured us that we would receive coverage. They failed.’’

Like many, she misunderstood Telstra’s claim of 99per cent coverage, which means its signal covers 99per cent of the population not 99per cent of Australia.

Dave Hooper, from Lostock Dam Caravan Park, said they struggled to get Telstra mobile phone reception but other providers offered none at all.

Telstra Countrywide Hunter manager Chris Cusack said Telstra maps did not advertise that they had coverage at Lostock and early investigations suggested the landline issues were related to property access, not Telstra. ‘‘We’re working with the customer to resolve their complaints,’’ he said.

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