Telecom New Zealand has announced a NZD574 million (USD347 million) plan to deploy a nationwide 850MHz W-CDMA network by June next year. The firm says the new system will be ready approximately a year before a similar network which is being deployed by rival operator Vodafone. ‘New Zealanders are demanding fast, ubiquitous and future-ready mobile technology at their fingertips – and with this advancement they will get it,’ said Telecom CEO Paul Reynolds. ‘Telecom’s new mobile network will be superior on every level: the best nationwide coverage, the fastest internet on your mobile, a wide range of world-leading handsets, as well as better content, music and business applications,’ he added. The W850 mobile broadband network, which will incorporate HSPA+ technology to boost data transfer speeds, will cover 97% of New Zealand’s population. The phased switch-on will begin next month, with full commercial availability expected by mid-2009.
The plans for the new rollout will impact on earnings, Telecom says. It has cut its forecast for full-year net profit for the year to end-June 2009 to between NZD460 million and NZD500 million, down from the previous estimate of NZD500 million-NZD540 million. Net profit in the twelve months to June 2008 stood at NZD713 million, down 15.5% year-on-year.