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Telecom NZ begins 3G operations, including Pocket PC and PC card options
Posted on 8-Nov-2004 18:28. | Tags Filed under: News.

Telecom NZ begins 3G operations, including Pocket PC and PC card options
Telecom New Zealand launched its 3G (third generation) mobile network and is expecting strong demand from businesses and consumers. The new generation of mobile services is branded as 'T3G'. The first new T3G service is called Mobile Broadband, enabling Telecom customers who to send and receive email, download business information, organise appointments and access the internet via laptops and handheld devices at high speeds.

The company says its new 3G network will allow downloads up to 15 times faster than the existing 027 network. The main advantage according to the company is the fact that this network is up to six times faster than UMTS based services expected to be offered by Telecomís competitors some time next year. Vodafone New Zealand is working with Nokia to deploy a 3G network based on the UMTS (WCDMA) standard, but it's expected to have it operational sometime in the first half of 2005.

Telecomís new service covers the Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch regions, and before Christmas will cover some key holiday and business destinations including Taupo, Coromandel, Queenstown and Wanaka. Beyond these areas customers will seamlessly switch to Telecomís nationwide 027 network.

Telecom has invested about NZ$40 million (US$28 million) on its new network which is based on the CDMA EV-DO (Evolution Data Optimised) technology. This is an upgrade over its current 027 network, based on CDMA 1xRTT technology. Mobile Broadband combines a dramatic improvement in performance with an equally dramatic reduction in cost for Telecom customers. A range of new subscription based pricing plans of 100, 200 and 500 megabytes per month provide significant cost reductions in mobile data usage and cost certainty for users.

All of the new pricing plans include usage of Telecomís wireless hotspot network (Wi-Fi based). Telecom has currently deployed 70 wireless hot spots at hotels, airports and business convention centres across the country and this will expand to 200 by the end of 2004.

As part of the new service, Telecom has introduced the T3G Data Card for laptop PCs and the Harrier Ė a Windows Mobile Pocket PC Phone Edition handheld (read our review). In addition to being a phone, the Harrier PDA (personal digital assistant) comes with a high resolution display screen, a full slide out keyboard and an inbuilt camera with flash. The Harrier is also known as HTC Harrier, the codename used by its developer, Taiwanese company HTC. It is similar to the recently announced Sprint PPC-6601.

The Harrier runs Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition, comes with 128MB RAM, 64MB ROM, Intel XScale 400 MHz processor. It has a 65K color TFT 240 x 320 touchscreen display. It is also Bluetooth enabled, and can be used as a high speed modem for a laptop or desktop computer.

Telecom is also unveiling Mobile Email+, a service that synchronises emails between the userís desktop PC and mobile device or PDA. Mobile Email+ is priced on a per user basis and is designed to work with our handheld mobile devices including the new Harrier Pocket PC.

The company expects to have Video Messaging available within the next few weeks. This will enable customers to record, view, store and send short duration video clips to other T3G video capable phones and to email addresses anywhere around the world. Push-to-talk (PTT) customer trials will also begin this side of Christmas.

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