Our Geekzone forums have been very busy this week with reports of 2degrees making their new 3G network available for public use throughout New Zealand the last week or so. 2degrees is New Zealand's third mobile operator, with its own mobile network in the main centres and elsewhere using Vodafone New Zealand's network.
Today I met with 2degrees and was briefed in what's happening. This is the summary:
3G network is lit in most places, for testing. Their own technicians have been around the country doing their tests but they wanted more accurate usage patterns to start - so they have it running.
For example Wellington CBD was lit yesterday and they noticed 13% of the connections automatically switching to 3G. This is interesting because they currently don't sell 3G handsets.
The sad part is... 2degrees will be locking it down from end of next week. And we don't have a date for when the service goes live.
Their 3G network is paired with their current 2G network (meaning where you have a 2G site there will be a 3G site). Obviously different loads will make coverage different.
The 3G network is available in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown, covering 48% of the population. Other areas, as we know is going to be covered by a roaming agreement with Vodafone.
There are plans in progress for additional network coverage, with Hamilton and Tauranga town planning in progress. Due to resource consent times and 3G release this won't happen until next year though.
No commercial details are available - plans, packs, national roaming.
New 3G handsets will come out (surprise) and Android devices. Micro SIM will be available "soon".
I was given a Huawei USB modem with a SIM card to test, but it will stop working when the network is locked again next week.
And that's all I have to say - nothing else was disclosed.
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