Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Anyone want to launch a mobile network with me?

Well, after years of a virtual mobile duopoly, the gates have opened and suddenly everyone thinks they can make a buck by launching a mobile phone network in the sparsely populated Pacific nation of Nu Zillund.

The country's third GSM mobile operator, NZ Communications, has announced it is... almost ready to announce the brand for its new network.

We'll have to wait until May 11th when NZ Comms will reveal its marketing name, and when they'll also tell us when their long-delayed network will "go live". The company (previously known as Econet Wireless) is built around frequencies allocated to Maori, with backing from overseas investors.

NZ Communications has already signed a national roaming deal with Vodafone to ensure nationwide coverage outside of its own network coverage area, and says it will focus on "offering value rather than branding".

Meanwhile, Internet Service Provider Orcon is planning to launch its "purple phone" mobile network to August, waiting until the big Telecom/Vodafone war dies down a little.

Orcon will be the third 'mobile virtual network operator' ** using Vodafone's network, along with Black+White and Compass.

Telecom is also ramping up the stakes in their new main 3G battle. The company is planning to quickly upgrade the speed of its new XT Mobile network, from 7.2Mbit/s on launch day on May 13, up to a theoretical 21Mbit/s by the end of the year. That's faster than a lot of regular ADSL broadband connections.

Vodafone claims it's already working on its own speed upgrade, to bring its network up to 4G. The company says its already trialling the 21Mbit/s services, which it believes it can launch before Telecom's faster service.

** UPDATE - Add CallPlus and Slingshot to that list as Vodafone MVNOs...

* NBR: NZ Comms announces date to announce launch date

* NBR: Telecom to turbocharge XT by Christmas

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