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Telstra launches improved "Country Phone" for signal in the Outback

Chris Ziegler

Tired of having to stand up (way, way up) on the brumby to pull down even a single bar of EDGE from the dusty ditches of the Great Central? We hear you, Aussies -- and so does Telstra. The carrier has retooled its 165i "Country Phone" from ZTE, making it better based on usability testing and customer feedback; in this case, "better" means it's gotten a little smaller, features a nicer screen, and has gained AGPS (probably not a bad thing to have when you're in the middle of nowhere). It's ruggedized and makes use of an oh-so-rare extendable antenna for insane reception that earns it Telstra's coveted Blue Tick certification, but you still get 3G, Bluetooth, FM radio, and a 2-megapixel camera -- all told, it's all set up to be a "big hit in the bush" to steal a bit of Telstra's verbiage. It goes for $529 AUD (about $346) when it drops on December 1.

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