Monday, 27 April 2009

Telecom's XT network launches early

Telecom has confirmed rumours that it will launch its "next generation" XT 3G network early. Telecom's "T-Day" was originally set down for June, the new network will now launch to the public on May 13th.

That beats Vodofone's "97% coverage" network upgrade by a couple of weeks. It will also allow Telecom to provide business users with a genuine worldwide roaming service, something that has been seriously lacking as it battled Vodafone in the mobile wars.

A number of other mobile network operators are also due to launch in New Zealand in the coming months, with NZ Communications still to announce a launch date, after spending $200 million on its new network.

But Telecom mobile resellers (mobile virtual network operators) like TelstraClear and Digital Island will be restricted to rebadged offering from Telecom's existing CDMA mobile network, and are locked out of the faster W-CDMA (XT) network until early 2011.
The $574 million XT network is launching with some impressive new handsets, including a world-first launch of the Sony Ericsson W995, which has an 8.1 megapixel camera, Outlook email support, and music player. Samsung's touchscreen F480 phone is another new model being released on May 13.

The business-friendly BlackBerry lineup are also expected to be popular on the new network, while Apple's iPhone will continue to be marketed for Vodafone's network (although users should be able to take across to the XT network).

Details of XT network plans and prices are still to be released. Expect something of a price and features war between Telecom and Vodafone over the next few months, which can only be good news for customers.

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