Telecom

Big dish our eye to the universe

As a kid heading north out of Auckland on holiday road trips I used to love going past the big satellite earth station near Warkworth. For decades, the earth station, which was built by the New Zealand Post Office in 1971 and is owned by Telecom, formed a major link for voice and data communications […]

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A step backwards for unmetered broadband

Looking forward to the type of uncapped data plans broadband users in Asia, the US and Europe enjoy? Think again. Prospects for such flat-rate pricing for broadband took a giant leap backwards this week with Telecom’s decision to can its $69.95 per month Big Time plan. I just received this email from Telecom spokeslady Emma […]

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The rort that still is mobile data roaming

The Herald on Sunday produces more evidence today of the perils of using your phone for email and surfing the internet while abroad. While making calls and sending text messages while abroad has become much more affordable for consumers and the charging schedules easier to understand, the same cannot be said for using mobile data […]

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XT network falls over

Thousands of Telecom customers are without mobile service today due to a major outage on the new XT network affecting service from Taupo south. UPDATE: Chris Keall at the NBR has an update and some interesting info on cause of the outage, which has now stretched in length to over six hours. My Blackberry, strangely […]

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TIVO reviewed – part 1

In a 3-part series I’ll be reviewing the TIVO digital recorder and video on demand service launched last week by TVNZ and Telecom. This post deals with the TIVO installation and set-up. DVR war declared (finally) So finally, a decade after time-shifting TV, ad-skipping and digital storage of TV programmes came to American homes via […]

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TELECOM CHANGES TACK ON MOBILE

UPDATE: A more in-depth Herald piece looking at the implications of Telecom’s shift in mobile strategy and my cHerald comment piece here. The Sunday Star Times business editor Tim Hunter explains the mobile roaming revenue Telecom can expect to tap into when it has a foot in the GSM/UMTS camp.

Juha’s scoop gives some interesting details of Telecom’s decision to spend $300 – $400 million on a GSM/UMTS network, confirming rumours that Telecom has been looking to extricate itself from CDMA.

I blogged about it in detail my Herald blog early this morning. So far, no official confirmation of the leak from Telecom and its shares are not on a trading halt, which is unusual given a development that is so material to Telecom’s business has been revealed. There’ll be lots of angles to this story. For instance:
– What will it mean for the newly flush New Zealand Communications which is set to build a GSM network itself? Maybe it’s a good thing as it will open up GSM roaming options.
– What about TelstrsClear? Will it exit the 029 arrangement with Vodafone in favour of some wholesale deal with Telecom?
– What about the hybrid network model Juha talks of, where CDMA is kept for high-speed data. How will this work for customers? Will they need dual-mode handsets to talk and use data? Will
EV-DO be restructed to PC data cards?
– What will Telecom do with its Hutchison 3G partnership? How will it leverage H3G services over here?

A few comments via the Herald:

From Keith:
Interesting comments about Telecom going GSM. I have been a Telecom mobile customer since 1989. I take a bit of an exception to your comment about CDMA being a bad choice. I have found call clarity and connections generally to be better with 025/027. In the early days 025/027 was far superior. Admittedly that may have changed in more recent times. Equally, my reading of the mobile data situation was that the Telecom products have offered better speed. Perhaps the only bad part of the decision is that the rest of the world went with a different standard. Had they gone CDMA then Telecom’s choice would have looked inspired!

As for a better selection of handsets. So what! It may be important for geeks and fashionistas but the rest of us get by with the Telecom selection (currently I have a Treo 600). I also have a work 021, a very nice and expensive Nokia, which I like. As for the Motorola RAZR phones, my previous experience with Motorola phones and modems including cable modems is that they are hopelessly unreliable. This was confirmed very recently when the boss “upgraded” to a Motorola RAZR which managed to die just prior to his overseas trip. I wouldn’t touch Motorola gear, no matter how nice it looks. I’ve also managed to persuade my kids to avoid it as well.

Telecom didn’t really have much choice by the looks of it, but for most of us it comes down to price and service, not technology.

Of course, with number portability maybe none of it matters. Not that the networks are saying much about that. Where is it at?

From Mark:
Interesting story on Telecom NZ move to GSM. I left NZ in April 1996 and went to work in Vietnam, where GSM mobile phone connections outnumber landlines by a considerable amount. I quickly realised (as you do when you work outside NZ) that a good proportion of the rest of the world also used it, and on my first trip back six weeks later gave my 027 phone to my wife and have been a Vodafone customer ever since. Interestingly, at the same time a good friend of mine owned (and still does) a Telecom franchise in New Plymouth and had no qualms telling me that CDMA would take over the world and texting would never take off. I could never convince him at the time that I thought Telecoms was a poor choice and that the rest of the world was moving in a different direction. I now own a triband Smartphone and use it in the US, Europe, the Middle East and SE Asia, roaming all of the time on Vodafone. It even worked in Brazil!

From Olga:
Your article is interesting but to share another aspect with you, as it happens Vodafone are erecting a tower & base outside my house today. This is despite my cries to Auckland City and Vodafone to move over it over the road where there are no houses.

So possibly this explains their hard stance with me.
There are bigger more powerful reasons, e.g. Telecom using the same facilities? Who cares about the safety (traffic concerns as base box obscures road & frequencies of units etc) of people when theres more profit to be made. Maybe the next time we read the glowing reports in the business section of the papers, you can highlight that the real price is being paid by a handful of affected people sacrificed for the sake of profit. What do you think??

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