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kiwisteve (Offline)
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Default 20-07-2006, 21:20

Tauranga first 3G target for Telstra

TelstraClear is making an aggressive push into the telecommunications market here by investing $50 million in wireless technology in Tauranga with an eye to developing the network nationally.

The Australian-owned phone company said yesterday it would develop a high-speed third-generation cellular network starting in Tauranga next July - which would deliver phone, broadband and mobile services.

TelstraClear chief executive Allan Freeth said: "It will let you talk and use broadband wherever you are, whenever you want to and keep your local number."

He said the new service could help make TelstraClear become the third biggest mobile player here.

"Telstra is clearly signalling that it intends to stay in New Zealand," Freeth said.

The project had the support of its parent company, Telstra, Australia's largest telecommunications player. However, TelstraClear would fund the project from its own resources.

"We are a company that is in a hurry and impatient now. We have the full support of Telstra and [chief executive] Sol Trujillo, who is even more impatient than us," Freeth said.

Trujillo was keen for TelstraClear to move aggressively into the market now the Government's decision to regulate had made it more open to competitors.

"The regulation announcement changed the view of our Australian shareholder about New Zealand being an attractive place to invest."

The converged package would use the same 3G technology as Vodafone but Freeth said it would be offering more services than Vodafone - which is launching a mobile broadband package in September.

Also, TelstraClear would continue to roll out its plans for unbundled bitstream services - broadband using Telecom's copperwire network - alongside the new package.

"This is a multi-pronged strategy. Telstra Clear wasn't in the space and needed to be there," said Freeth.

First, TelstraClear would build wireless towers in Tauranga, working with the Tauranga City Council, to ensure the service was up and running in a year. Part of the investment would cover a caller management system in Auckland.

Freeth is confident that if the Tauranga business goes well TelstraClear could roll out the network around New Zealand.

The company saw Auckland as an attractive area to invest in but did not have any immediate plans for building a cellular network there.

TelstraClear would not give details on pricing or the speed of the new service but Freeth insisted it would be "competitive".

He expected some strong competitive reaction to the news that "may adjust its strategy roll-out going forward".

Vodafone has its own plans to roll out a similar service nationwide from September in an attempt to expand from providing just cellphone services. Vodafone declined to comment on the TelstraClear announcement yesterday.

Telecommunications User Association of New Zealand chief executive Ernie Newman said TelstraClear's announcement was a positive sign that it was prepared to invest more in the local market and was a vote of confidence in the regulatory regime.

Callplus chief executive Martin Wylie said it represented a growing confidence in wireless technology.

Woosh chief executive Bob Smith said he was comfortable with the capabilities of its network compared with the TelstraClear proposal.

Calling plan

* TelstraClear is to spend $50 million building a third-generation network in Tauranga.

* The network could service 100,000 households.

* Home, mobile and broadband will start in July next year.

* Pricing and speed details are unavailable.

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AndreA (Offline)
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Default 07-08-2006, 11:15

kiwisteve, but actually how is 3G coverage there?

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