Telecom's WCDMA switch

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 15-Mar-2007 08:07

Juha scooped the story yesterday and if things go as reported Telecom will go ahead with the worst kept secret of all time - a switch to GSM/WCDMA based technology. Ever since they were forced to give up their ETACS spectrum 15 years ago (the ETACS analogue spectrum was the European analogue system and the frequency bands were used by GSM) they have had no option of going down the GSM path simply because they didn't have the required spectrum. They spent big $$ buying 2100MHz UMTS frequencies but we all know how hopeless 2100Mhz networks are (look at Vodafone 3G). Telecom's shutdown of their 800MHz AMPS/DAMPS network gives them valuable spectrum which can now be used for 850MHz WCDMA, the new ratified band that is being used by Telstra's Next G network in Australia and by American carriers who have gone down the AMPS->GSM/WCDMA path.

The big question is who Telecom's partner will be. I've put money on it for years that the 3 brand would appear in NZ with a joint Telecom NZ/Hutchinson deal. Pour a little bit of Telstra in the bucket as well and mix it all up and you never know what could come out.. Telcos see no problem now with building networks as a joint effort and it makes sence. Vodafone could finally see some very serious competition.

This is certainly going to be an interesting next 12 months in the NZ markerplace.

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Comment by juha, on 15-Mar-2007 09:24

I wonder if Huawei won't win the contract to build the network... can't see how Nokia/Ericsson or Nortel could compete there. Telecom will want to build as cheaply as possible.

Author's note by sbiddle, on 15-Mar-2007 09:37

It looks that way when they mention the cost of Asian gear. Huawei seem to be doing very well for themselves.

Maybe Telecom could start by buying some of the Huawei gear that Tex bragged about airfreighted over to NZ. I'm sure that must be sitting in a warehouse somewhere...unless he was lying! :-)

What I find unusual is Telecom's obsession with offering dual mode (WiFi+mobile) handsets. This was mentioned again yesterday. I'm planning to get a Nokia E65 myself (WiFi+UMTS with built in VoIP SIP client) but I personally don't see the future revolving around having a phone that acts as a cordless at home using a VoIP PSTN number and a mobile when outside. The Vodafone AtHome offering of simply linking a PSTN number to a mobile is a lot more logical but not nesessarily a solution for everybody. I guess time will tell..

Comment by paradoxsm, on 15-Mar-2007 17:20

Long last! Finally they decided on it... 2100 MHz is truly awful, Woosh, Vodafone 3g have all been nothing but trouble.. but 800MHz!

sbiddle's profile

Steve Biddle
New Zealand

I'm an engineer who loves building solutions to solve problems.

I also love sharing my views and analysis of the tech world on this blog, along with the odd story about aviation and the travel industry.

My interests and skillset include:

*VoIP (Voice over IP). I work with various brands of hardware and PBX's on a daily basis
  -Asterisk (incl PiaF, FreePBX, Elastix)

  -xDSL deployments

*Structured cabling
  -Home/office cabling
  -Phone & Data

*Computer networking
  -Mikrotik hardware
  -WAN/LAN solutions

*Wireless solutions
  -Motel/Hotel hotspot deployments
  -Outdoor wireless deployments, both small and large scale
  -Temporary wireless deployments
*CCTV solutions
  -Analogue and IP

I'm an #avgeek who loves to travel the world (preferably in seat 1A) and stay in nice hotels.

+My views do no represent my employer. I'm sure they'll be happy to give their own if you ask them.

You can contact me here or by email at