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Telstra T165i

 Telstra T165i Discontinued
7th January 2009

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The Telstra T165i is a 3G phone made exclusively for the Australian Telstra network by ZTE. The T165i demonstrates a completely different approach to mobile phone design from most mainstream handsets, and with good reason.

Australia is a huge country, and most of it is very sparsely populated. Mobile phone coverage in rural areas is not great, but Telstra tries very hard to make sure that as many consumers as possible can get access to its "Next G" UMTS 3G service. The Telstra T165i is specifically designed to be used outside of regional centres and towns, and one immediately obvious feature is the large extendable antenna which helps the T165i to pick up a 3G signal.

The Telstra "Next G" network replaced their old 850 MHz CDMA network, and one of the conditions set by the Australian government to allow the changeover was that the new 3G network should have as wide a coverage as possible. One result of this is the Telstra T165i, created as a result of these special market conditions.

 Telstra T165i If you find that the standard antenna doesn't quite give good enough reception, then the T165i can be connected to an external antenna via a patch lead or a car kit. It seems strange to think that you might want to use a mobile phone with a fixed antenna on a building, but you can. Part of the reason for this is that the Next G network can also be used as a relatively high-speed way to access the internet in areas "normal broadband" cannot reach.

Underneath the chunky exterior, the Telstra T165i has a 2" 240 x 320 pixel anti-glare display, a 2 megapixel camera with autofocus, A-GPS plus Whereis maps, an FM radio, MP3 player, basic web browser and an email client. Of course, the T165i also has Bluetooth and microSD expandable memory.

Telstra say that the T165i measures 117 x 51 x 16mm which makes it a little larger than a standard phone.. what they don't tell you is that this excludes the antenna stub which makes it around 139mm tall, which is very large indeed. Talktime is around 3.5 hours with up to 10 days standby time.

It isn't an attractive phone, but in terms of looks perhaps the best word we can find is "purposeful". The T165i is clearly designed to do a job, and from the reports that we have seen it does this very well. Perhaps it would be nice to see phones like this being more widely available, because people in other countries often have coverage problems.

The Telstra T165i is available now.

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Telstra T165i at a glance


Q1 2009


GSM + UMTS 850




240 x 320 pxiels


2 megapixels


Large monoblock
139 x 51 x 61mm (approx) / 119 grams



Memory card:







Not specified


Yes (A-GPS)

Battery life:

3.5 hours talk / 10 days standby


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