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Air-freighted Econet switch equipment arrives

24 May 2006

Air-freighted Econet switch equipment arrives

Econet Wireless New Zealand (Econet) has taken receipt of the switch equipment that will enable it to accelerate the roll out of its 3G mobile network. The equipment, supplied by Econet's China-based partner, Huawei, will be installed at Econet's Albany switch centre.

"The arrival of this equipment represents an important milestone for Econet and mobile consumers. Already, consumers can see the benefits of a third player in the market. Just this week Vodafone has stepped up marketing of a one cent per text plan. Not surprisingly, the plan is also intended to lock customers into a two year contract - which is the natural and rational behaviour of an incumbent faced with the prospect of a new entrant," says Tex Edwards, Chief Project Director of Econet Wireless New Zealand.

"The Government's decision to unbundle Telecom, and its recent acknowledgement of the regulatory barriers to the mobile entrants, along with the Commerce Commission's announcement of its mobile sector review, has given Econet the confidence to progress its plans to introduce competition into the New Zealand mobile market. There is a strong mood for regulatory change in mobile.

"Econet is looking to bring forward the rollout of its initial Auckland network, but it can not do so unless co-location rules, roaming rules and other critical regulatory matters are addressed. Until these regulatory changes are made, there is no commercial proposition for a new entrant.

"With the introduction of road rules, in line with the rest of the OECD, there will be a playing field that provides for a third or even fourth mobile network," concludes Edwards.

ENDS

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