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TelstraClear to shutdown wireless pilot service and focus on fixed wirelines business
Posted on 16-Apr-2007 12:03. | Tags Filed under: News.

TelstraClear’s pilot wireless network in Tauranga is to be shut down because what the company says was a deliberate last minute change by Vodafone that meant the service would be uncompetitive.

TelstraClear Chief Executive Dr Allan Freeth says an eleventh hour change to a key component of its roaming arrangements has forced the company to make the tough decision to halt the project and focus on investments in existing and new services.

“We had a national roaming agreement and an additional agreement to make the changes that would allow us to deliver Unplugged. We proceeded on that basis,” says Dr Freeth.

“We even provided a joint statement to the Commerce Commission setting out that we had agreed the changes necessary for Unplugged to launch,” he says.

The pilot network had been on track for launch in July, was tested as planned and would have delivered a converged mobile/broadband service to homes and businesses throughout Tauranga city. The service was to be the first New Zealand pure 3G network.

Dr Freeth says Vodafone’s late change forced TelstraClear into an untenable position.

“We could delay our launch and lose many months pursuing legal action or persuading Vodafone to revert to its previous position. In the interim, Vodafone would go to market with its own service.”

“Or, we could push ahead with the July launch of a service Vodafone’s late change had made unattractive and uncompetitive.”

Dr Freeth says the decision will be disappointing for Tauranga and for TelstraClear staff, however, the company could not continue with a project that would destroy shareholder value. He also says TelstraClear will focus its investment on its fixed line business, leveraging broadband services in its own network and investigating the opportunities created by unbundled local loop access.

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