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Residential Wireless Phone and Broadband Service

New Zealand's First Residential Wireless Phone and Broadband Service Launches

ihug, New Zealand's original internet pioneer, today announces the launch of ihug Connect, the first wireless phone and broadband internet service, for Auckland, Hamilton and Pukekohe residents*. ihug Connect enables customers to sever their Telecom copper wire connection for good and enjoy an improved phone and internet service, which is cheaper and offers increased freedom and convenience.

"For too long Telecom has had a monopoly on the phone system, denying customers choice and keeping prices high. ihug Connect will change this by injecting a vital element of competition into New Zealand's telecommunications market, giving customers substantially reduced monthly rental and calling costs for both phone and internet", said ihug's General Manager, Guy Nelson.

"In fact we estimate that a household with a Telecom phone line and broadband internet connection could save over $50 each month by moving to ihug Connect (see Appendix 1 for an example). With lower phone line rental and internet access charges, better deals on phone features, no peak calling rates, and drastically reduced rates on calls to mobiles we're offering a great deal to customers who've been paying too much for too long".

ihug's wireless Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service revolutionises the way voice and internet traffic is transmitted. Previously voice and internet traffic were delivered over two separate networks. ihug Connect delivers both voice and internet over a single data "pipe', improving efficiency and opening up a host of new functionality and innovative features, that Telecom just can't match using their traditional dual networks.

The ihug Connect service has a web portal allowing users to listen to their voice mail messages from any internet enabled computer. The web portal also enables users to manage their calls by setting "call handling rules' e.g. calls from "John Smith' can be programmed to go straight to your mobile; or if you don't wish to be disturbed after midnight and before 6am calls between these times can be forwarded to voice mail; and to ensure you don't miss messages from friends and family, you can choose to receive voice mail notifications via email, or phone call to a specified number.

All ihug Connect phone lines are bundled with an internet connection, and packages start from just $69.90 a month for both services. Users can also make further savings with ihug Connect, as phone line features like caller ID, call return, call waiting and voice mail are either free or much cheaper than Telecom's offerings.

ihug Connect customers also have an identifiably different ringtone, and get a new telephone number e.g. (09) 963 4567 for an Auckland customer. No new telephones or jack points are required for the ihug Connect service.

Installing ihug Connect is simple. Firstly a site test is performed to ensure the property can receive a strong signal from the nearest transmission site. Following a positive test, an antenna is attached to the roof, and a cable is run to a small Cisco device inside the home. This connects to the customer's computer and into a phone jack point. Once the ihug Connect service is installed customers communicate wirelessly for all phone calls and high-speed internet usage.

Ihug Connect installation is only $99.95. This includes all the equipment needed, so customers don't have to purchase a broadband modem or any other hardware.

Ihug's Connect service uses Wired Country's wireless access network. This network operates on licenced 3.5GHz spectrum. As demand for the ihug Connect service grows, and through their preferred supplier status for the PROBE rollout in the Auckland region, Wired Country plan to provide greater coverage by installing more transmission sites.

More information about the ihug Connect service and a list of frequently asked questions can be found at ihug's website: www.ihug.co.nz/connect

-ENDS-

Notes to Editors:

The ihug Connect service is available to -

- Auckland residents living within 10-12km of the Sky Tower, with a direct line of sight to the middle of the Sky Tower from the roof of their house.

- Pukekohe residents from a number of transmission sites in the Pukekohe region.

- Hamilton residents living within 10-12km of the Waikato Hospital, with a direct line of sight to it from the roof of their house.

Appendix One: An example of possible savings for an ihug Connect customer

Examples of potential call savings:

About ihug

ihug Ltd is New Zealand's original internet pioneer, it has over 120,000 current subscribers across broadband, dial-up and telephony products in New Zealand. It also provides wholesale broadband and satellite access and web services to telecommunications operators and ISPs. The company has achieved its position from a culture of continuous innovation, which includes New Zealand's first flat rate dial up internet plans, high-speed internet access, virus and spam email filtering, and is one of New Zealand's leading VoIP telephony service providers.

In 2003 the company merged with iiNet one of Australasia's largest Internet Service Providers. The group now has over 300,000 current subscribers across broadband, dial-up and telephony products in New Zealand and Australia.

About Wired Country

Wired Country, a division of Counties Power, was established in late 2002 to provide consumers in the Counties Region with the most advanced telecommunications network available. Since inception, Wired Country has rolled out an advanced "fibre to the home' (FTTH) and wireless broadband network that covers thousands of businesses, schools and residential customers in the region. Coverage has recently been increased to Auckland City and Hamilton. In December 2003 Wired Country was named as the preferred supplier for project PROBE that will see the network rolled out to cover greater Auckland, from the Rodney region to South of the Bombays.

Wired Country currently provides Internet connectivity ranging up to 100Mbps and uses the latest advances in voice over IP to provide telephone, EFTPOS and fax services. The future proof nature of the network means it has an almost unlimited capacity for both current and future applications such as video conferencing, video-on-demand, broadcast TV, smart security, telemedicine etc.

ENDS

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