Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New Zealand: the third mobile operator will, after years of delay, launch a service in August as "2 degrees"

[Frost & Sullivan] NZ Communications Ltd (NZC) has finally set August 2009 as the launch date of its new mobile network. To coincide with the launch, the mobile operator has changed its brand name to ‘2degrees’. NZC will initially launch only a 2G network, but anticipates an upgrade to 3G technology once the initial network is up and running. The network is capable of running on 900Mhz, 1800Mhz and 2100Mhz frequencies, including HSPA+.

The rollout of NZC’s network, has had to cope with a number of setbacks and delays – it actually spans all the way back to 2001, when NZC initially secured GSM 1800 MHz and 3G spectrum in New Zealand. At that time it was operating under the name ‘Econet’. NZC has installed more than 300 cell sites and spent around $250 building the network, with technology partner Huawei.

The network will be initially only be available in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, however a roaming agreement with Vodafone, signed in October 2008, allows 2degrees extended coverage to 97% of the population.

2degrees will go to market across a number of retail outlets and will offer a mix of phones with SIM cards or just SIM cards. The company is launching at the price conscious end of the consumer voice market, where it believes high-speed data access is not a must have, particularly the pre-paid market. It will keep it offerings simple, avoiding over complicated plans or offers.

New Zealand Communications is owned by Hong Kong-based General Enterprise Management, Communication Venture Partners of London and Trilogy International Partners, with a 20 per cent Maori interest through the Hauraki Trust.

Third mobile operator to launch in New Zealand. What will be the impact on the local mobile market?

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