Posted on 9-Aug-2005 19:54
Filed under: News
If you have been following some discussions here on Geekzone you know that Vodafone New Zealand turned on its 3G network a couple of days ago. The official announcement is set for the 10 August 2005, but users have been able to place video calls and establish data calls via UMTS already.
The Vodafone New Zealand 3G site is live now and we can learn more about the official Vodafone 3G structure, prices and services, ahead of its official launch.
The new microsite contains information about 3G technology, coverage maps, and new services being offered by Vodafone New Zealand from the moment the service is launched. This includes video calls, a new music store, and streaming mobile TV.
There is a blurb about plans for future HSDPA enhancements, promissing even faster speeds (the WCDMA network being launched offers a maximum of 384kbps) "over the years".
But is not all about the speed, according to Vodafone New Zealand. The company will bring new handsets, starting with the Motorola V1050, Nokia 6680 (pictured) and Sony Ericsson v800i, a special edition for Vodafone network. Handset prices will vary from NZ$748 through NZ$998.
Be careful when looking at the coverage map linked from one of the pages though, since it is just the old GSM map (at least in the version I am looking at now), and it does not reflect 3G coverage. The full 3G map is in another page.
Coverage is available in Auckland, Whangarei, Hamilton, Christchurch, Wellington, Queenstown, Dunedin, Hastings, Napier, Nelson, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Rotorua, Taupo, Tauranga, Mt Maunganui, Wanganui, Pauanui, and Whangamata
What about prices? Some services have reasonable prices. Video calling within New Zealand for example costs the same as a standard voice call, but your minutes allowance do not include video calls. Video calls to overseas mobile phones are NZ$1.99/minute (US$1.38/minute).
Each music track download costs NZ$3.50 (US$2.45), which is more than other music download services available in the country, like CokeTunes, launched last week and available for Telecom New Zealand mobile phones. Music tracks can only be download while in 3G coverage, and songs are DRM-protected, i.e. can not be copied to other devices or mobile phones.
Games cost NZ$7 (US$4.80) each, and streaming short movie costs US$1 (US$.69) each.
Monthly data plans include VMC Lite with 50MB allowance for NZ$45 (US$31), VMC Everyday with 250MB allowance for NZ$79 (US$55), VMC Pro with 500MB for NZ$99 (US$69), through VMC Unleashed, with 1GB allowance and costing NZ$149/month (US$105).
It will be good to see how Telecom New Zealand will change its own data prices after the official Vodafone 3G launch.
Users will pay NZ$1/MB on any excess data, with no excess on the VMC Unleashed plan - in this case a Fair Use Policy is in place, but the website returns a Page Not Found so we can not check the terms of this policy yet.
Vodafone is offering a Starter Pack as a free trial until the end of October 2005, including free video calls inside New Zealand, unlimited mobile TV, unlimited music videos, and five free full lenght music tracks to download.