Telecom New Zealand has confirmed plans to deploy a NZD300 million (USD226 million) W-CDMA 3G network which will sit alongside its existing CDMA2000 systems. The firm says it intends to use the new network to provide high speed mobile data services, while retaining the CDMA network for voice calls. Telecom has no immediate plans to transfer all its traffic to the W-CDMA system; it says the current CDMA network will be live for at least the next five years. Alcatel-Lucent has been awarded the equipment contract, which also incorporates HSPA 3.5G technology.
Telecom is moving towards the GSM/W-CDMA technology path as it is the most popular technology globally for high speed mobile services and therefore increases the international roaming options for Telecom customers. The move will also benefit two rival operators in New Zealand. TelstraClear recently abandoned plans to deploy its own 3G network and will instead resell W-CDMA services. Its current wholesale deal with Vodafone is due to run out and TelstraClear will be hoping that it will be able to negotiate a more competitive contract now that there will be two network operators in the market. Meanwhile, NZ Communications, which was originally established as Econet Wireless, is rolling out its own W-CDMA network. Telecom’s move to a similar technology means that Econet can now target Telecom customers as well as Vodafone users once it launches commercially.