Telstra takes Next G to the great outdoors with its new 165 ‘Country Phone’. This handset promises greater reception in rural areas, incorporates a tough design, and will definitely fit the lifestyle of the outdoor tradesman.

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At first glance, the Telstra 165 looks similar to the first GSM phones, with the unit sporting a robust candy bar design and an extendable antenna for getting signals in those ‘dead spots’. A closer look at the unit, however, reveals various functions and features that can be found on any other 3G phones in the market.

Users may be able to find a secondary camera above the phone’s screen for 3G video calls in addition to its 2 mega pixel camera at the back of the unit. The keypad below the screen has a dedicated Foxtel, Bigpond, Back, and Clear keys for ease of use, as well as five-way navigation keys that have various shortcuts to menus and can be used to move around the main menu. In addition, a photo button and volume control buttons can be found on the unit’s left side, while a microSD card slot can be found on its right. There is also a USB port found at the bottom of the unit for charging the unit or for connection with the PC.



The large and bright screen with clear text and icons made it easy for us to navigate through the menu and access the various functions.

The main menu consists of various options that can help a user with their tasks. Programs like File Manager, Alarm, Calendar, Stopwatch, Calculator, World Time, Bluetooth, Syncml, and PocketNews are found under the Tools option, while applications like BigPond, Foxtel, BigPond Music, My Email, Call 1234 Info, BigBlog & Photos, Whereis Maps, Downloads, and My Account can be found under the My Place option.

Users can also access their messages (SMS and E-Mail), games and applications, contacts, call logs, multimedia (camera, video camera, media player, and voice recorder), browser, and phone settings via the main menu, which is all accessible by pressing the OK key in the idle screen.

The Telstra 165 can take photos (up to 1200 x 1600 for the external; 640 x 480 for the internal), shoot videos (up to 8 minutes), and even record audio (up to 30 minutes) using the unit’s voice recorder function. Recorded material can either be saved to the handset memory or to the microSD card.


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Users can also use the 165 to listen to stored songs on the microSD card or access the BigPond Music Shop to search, preview, buy, and listen to various tracks. The handset supports MP3, WMA, AVI, and MIDI files, with the number of stored songs dependent on the unit’s phone and microSD capacity. Users can also watch any videos so long as it is converted to MP4 video format.

One will not have a problem viewing Mobile Foxtel shows, browsing the Internet, and even checking various BigPond services using the Telstra 165 as it supports speeds of up to 3.6Mbps on an HSDPA connection. The phone can also be hooked up to any PC or notebook and can be used as a dial up modem to connect to the Internet. Just remember that data charges can be high, especially if one is continuously connected. Make sure that you talk to Telstra regarding this matter and get a plan that you need.

Telstra claims that the phone’s external antenna will offer maximum call quality and coverage when it is fully extended, giving people from the countryside a better mobile service. While we were not able to go to the countryside to do a full test on the ‘coverage area’ of the Telstra 165, we were able to obtain a better signal in various ‘dead spots’ in the city. Finally, the 165 gave us a talk time of up to 250 minutes and a standby time of up to 250 hours when placed on the GSM mode.


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The Telstra 165 Country Phone will definitely be the perfect phone for people living or working in rural areas with its external antenna and extensive Next G coverage. Moreover, its broadband speed makes Mobile Foxtel viewing, Internet surfing, and file downloading fast and easy. If you are a user that does not mind having a phone that looks ‘old’ despite all its latest functions and features, then this Country Phone is definitely worth a look.

Main Features:

  • Extendable antenna
  • Latest 3G HSDPA & UMTS standard
  • Bluetooth V1.2 – Supports FTP / HFC / A2DP (Stereo Bluetooth handset support)
  • 2 mega pixel camera with digital zoom
  • Dual camera design for video calling
  • MP3 player and ringtones
  • Peer to Peer video calling
  • Send multi-media videos, pictures and emails
  • microSD memory up to 2GB
  • Personal organiser / calendar
  • Speakerphone
  • Java enabled for games and applications
  • USB connectivity
  • Compatible with ZTE Wired Hands Free Car Kit with external antenna
  • Record voice memos
  • Predictive text with My Words dictionary for easy SMS
  • High Capacity Li-ion battery (1300mAh)

Technical Specifications:

Handset Standards:
WCDMA 850MHz, 2100 MHz with HSDPA data
900MHz GSM, 1800 MHz GSM and 1900 MHz GSM with UMTS

Dimensions (W x L x H): 117 x 51 x 16mm

Weight: 120g

– MP4 video, MP3 audio, 2 mega pixel camera, VGA camera, USB connectivity, MIDP 2.0 JAVA
– 225MHz Processor, TFT 262K Colour Screen, MMS Video and Picture, E-mail, Calendar, Speakerphone, Voice Recorder, Bluetooth 1.2

Battery: 1200mA hours, Lithium ion (L-ion)

Continuous Idle Time: 250 hours in GSM mode, 200 hours in WCDMA mode
Continuous Talk Time: 250 minutes on GSM mode, 200 minutes on WCDMA network, Video call 120 minutes

Charge Time: Approximately 5 hours

Battery Life: Approximately 400 charge cycles

Telstra Country Phone 165 | $529 |  | www.telstra.com.au

For: Strong network coverage (External Antenna); Battery life; HSDPA connection; Features and services; Price
Against: Users may immediately judge the phone by the way it looks.
Conclusion: A great robust phone for the outdoor tradesman and people who live in the rural area.

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