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Hard and Fast

Once again I'm gobsmacked!

By Antonios Karantze, in , posted: 13-Jul-2007 20:47

Just before Xmas, I blogged about Callplus's plans to spend up to $450m building a national wimax network:

Today NZPA are reporting that things have changed somewhat:

CallPlus WiMax plans delayed
NZPA | Friday, 13 July 2007

CallPlus is blaming the scheduling of a spectrum auction for December as the cause of delays in the rollout of a nationwide wireless broadband network using WiMax technology.

The National Business Review reported today that Japanese bank Marubeni had verbally withdrawn a $450 million financing package that was to fund the CallPlus rollout. It quoted a source who said the technology the expansion was based on had run into difficulty, although it could probably be fixed.

"The original deal is off," the source said.

CallPlus chief executive Martin Wylie said today the technology did work.

Deployment delays were principally tied in with the Government's announcement six weeks ago that it would be holding a spectrum auction in December, he said. Last September CallPlus said it was preparing for a national roll-out of its WiMax service, which uses radio frequency rather than conventional wires for voice and broadband, this year. Mr Wylie announced the $US450 million ($NZ581.7 million) finance package in January, saying only that it was from a major Japanese trading house.

Today he said that due to delays CallPlus had not drawn down on the funding. He was subject to confidentiality requirements and not prepared to say more. Asked if the funding was still available, he said: "We're not drawing down on it today, potentially the funding will be reinstated and we've got other sources.

"It's more a case of delay and therefore we're not drawing down on the funding at the moment."

With the announcement that more spectrum was to be come available, CallPlus could need to reconsider which spectrum band to deploy equipment in, Mr Wylie said. If the company changed from the spectrum it was using now, it would need to acquire a new set of equipment and then trial it.

Hmmmm. I don't like ragging or running down people who are willing to give things a go and invest in the country, but I feel cynical about this announcement and how it came about. I recall some specific wording at the time that basically changed the premise of their announcement - we're spending money - to the reality - we're threatening to spend money unless Telecom and the commission move faster on LLU and Naked DSL.

A pessimist's view? Basic UBA, the forerunner for Naked DSL, has been specified and the industry is waiting on the regulated price. All things being equal, spending $5m on the change project and going to market with a slightly-better-than-what-you've-got-now-but-it-has-low-grade-voip in September is a darn sight easier than the real hard graft of spending a shedload of cash, building and running a network while being under pressure to connect customers, make money and payback the big boys.

I guess the hard work is best left to the difficult folk at Telecom, Vodafone and TelstraClear.

Other related posts:
2Degrees prepay price change
Consolidation (“and then there were fewer”)
Introducing the Hot New Social Network (updated!)

Comment by sbiddle, on 13-Jul-2007 22:27

WiMAX is a dog anyway. It's just like WCDMA - hyped up by everybody but failing to deliver in the real world..

Comment by timestyles, on 14-Jul-2007 09:09

All I can say is that you are easily gobsmacked.  You thought things would go to plan?  In New Zealand?

antoniosk's profile

Antonios Karantze
New Zealand


Antonios has been actively employed in the IT & Technology sector since 1991, and has worked on many commercials projects and products in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. Working in product or actively managing programmes of work, he has always focused on building for the end customer, and not just promoting new technologies. Industry experience includes all telecommunications areas for business and private customers, private insurance, loyalty, media, energy and gambling. 

Since 2013, he has been involved with the development and launch of many popular smartphone applications in New Zealand, including

- TAB Mobile
- AMI & State Insurance digital experience
- Fly Buys
- Newshub for web and app
- Genesis Energy & Energy Online
- MyACC for Business

Genuinely passionate about technologies, internet and computing in general, he lives in the city he was born in - Wellington, New Zealand, the creative heart of hub of digital sector for the country.