Vodafone New Zealand has announced plans to drop the ihug brand for its internet services and offer all services under the Vodafone banner, reports the NZ Herald. The UK-based group acquired New Zealand ISP ihug from its Australian owner iiNet in 2006 in an effort to expand its business into the fixed line and internet markets. The ihug brand was retained for Vodafone’s internet services, but the company says it now wants to offer all services under the Vodafone banner to support its goal of becoming the number one communications operator in New Zealand. Existing ihug customers will be offered the option of retaining their ihug e-mail address or switching to a new Vodafone-based address.
Separately, rival operator TelstraClear has announced the completion of its new NZD29 million (USD22 million) fibre ring in New Zealand’s South Island. The new 950km cable loop connects lower South Island’s main towns and cities and links with TelstraClear’s existing backbone fibre network on the island. TelstraClear says it now has around 6,000km of fibre network laid across New Zealand.