Tuesday, 28 April 2009

The new 3G network from Telecom New Zealand launches on May 13th, 2009: the singularity grows nearer

Telecom NZ XT 3G
The news that
Telecom New Zealand had brought forward the launch of their new XT 3G network to May 13th is very welcome, because despite the hype, I believe it will bring some welcome competition to this space, and hopefully also gives us to chance to revisit the 'Internet in your pocket' debate.

The detail
Telecom NZ have spent NZ$574 million on the new network. It replaces their legacy CDMA platform, and brings them into the 3G WCDMA 850MHz (W850) space. In plainer English this will bring Telecom NZ back into the mainstream of competitive 3G which handles voice, data, and a swag of other next generation services.

Devices - Samsung, Sony Ericsson et al
Its also reported that they will launch with a whole bunch of new handsets including the Sony Ericsson, W995 with 8.1 mega pixel camera, a Walkman music player, and the Samsung F480 touch screen.

And yes, in theory the iPhone will run perfectly well on the new platform/frequency. And of course there are a dozen rumours a day floating around the press and PR traps that Telecom NZ will have an iPhone deal on day one, and that the current Vodafone monopoly will be toast.

Data plans - better pricing
There is nothing out on the public domain around data charges or pricing plans. Hardly surprising, if a tad frustrating. There has to be movement on this - or else the talk of more competition will be a farce.

As to speeds, although none have been released, the ever vigilant Juha Saarinen is of the opinion that "
Telecom needs to hit 14.4Mbps minimum for marketing reasons, even if there are precious few (if any?) devices that support it".

The internet in your pocket
All of which is good news, especially if, like me, you now think having the Internet in your pocket is a good thing. Speaking for myself, I love it - I love the talk - the walk - and the sources, especially the ancients : or as Machiavelli put it:

"I enter the courts of the ancients, and am welcomed by them, and there I taste the food that alone is mine, and for which I was born. And there I make bold to speak to them and ask the motives of their actions, and they, in their humanity, reply to me. And for the space of four hours I forget the world, remember no vexation, fear poverty no more, tremble no more at death; I pass indeed into their world .."
The Literary Works of Machiavelli, trans. J.R. Hale. (Oxford: 1961), p. 139 D.
source - wikipedia

Currently I am the beneficiary of a Blackberry, and definitely consider it the phone/mobile device for grown ups.

iPhone / iPod Touch
That said, I've also had the chance to use an iPhone and an IPod Touch. Of the two, the IPod Touch is definitely the best value for money. The 8 gig version for example is currently sitting in some Auckland stores at the wonderfully Scottish price of NZ$350.

For sure the iPod Touch doesn't have access to the 3G network - but provided you can find a wifi spot you are totally away - browser - email - twitter - YouTube - ebook reader, whatever.

Compare that with the IPhone and you have to ask would you pay the thick end of $600 extra for a 3G network and the chance to make a phone call feeling like a plonker, use a weird onscreen keyboard, and take photos with a bad digital camera?

Network nearness
Well the answer is, if you have the dosh - yes, because the 3G part is the path to "network nearness" - i.e. having the network, including the Internet, always on, and so ready to hand, does indeed change the conditions of access, learning, and community.

Quite how this will play out culturally and socially is as yet to be determined, although some people are starting to think about this.

The singularity grows nearer
That said , come May the 13th, here in NZ, the singularity grows ever nearer.

Other sources
Great FAQ on the new network from Geekzone here,

Note to Paul Reynolds - CEO - Telecom NZ : Good luck with XT - but be advised I still consider myself the incumbent.


David Barclay said...

Hey agree with the iphone/touch commments, Im 15 and have recently bought an ipod touch and loving it. what i have said is that if you have enough money to buy things like the iphone and not even be bothered with the price tag. definately get that because it has the allover networking even in the countryside (eg:roadtrips) and you can edit photos yourself taken from the camera (which is good if all you will do is look at them on the ipod screen). If you are bothered by looking odd by using an iphone in public as a phone, you can probably afford a normal phone because if you couldn't get both you would have a phone and ipod touch anyway. Also, you may be interested to know that my english teacher is looking into using ipod touches in a classroom environment as we have a wifi network all over school.

Paul Reynolds said...

Nice post - thanks for the feed back - interesting - would be interested in hearing more about what your teacher does in the classroom.

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