Whangarei WiMAX launch for Slingshot

Whangarei residents to get 10Mbit/s symmetrical service from $20/month

Slingshot is the first ISP in New Zealand to launch a commercial, fixed-WiMAX based wireless broadband and phone service.

Called MAX, Slingshot will service the CBD and select suburbs of Whangarei in the Far North.

Slingshot/Callplus has been trialling WiMAX since late last year in the Far North as well as Gulf Harbour, Whangapararoa Peninsula and Kiakohe. The MAX service cost $3 million to develop, and is run by a separate company, Blue Reach. Once Slingshot/Callplus has rolled out its own network, Blue Reach will wholesale the service to other providers.

Slingshot is using Alvarion's BreezeMAX equipment for the network, through supplier Siemens New Zealand. The Alvarion gear is fully IEEE 802.16 standard compliant, and uses orthogonal frequency division modulation of the radio signal, to achieve greater data rates.

The service runs in the 3.5GHz spectrum and provides speeds of up to 10Mbit/s in both directions, for customers within two kilometres the base station. At six kilometres distance, the service provides 6Mbit/s according to Graham Walmsley, general manager of Blue Reach.

Slingshot's new WiMAX plans

MAX VoiceMAX IgniteMAX ExpressMAX Extreme
Voice only1GB data10GB dataUnlimited data
$49.95/month$19.95 $29.95$49.95
$69.69 with MAX Voice$79.90 with MAX Voice$99.90 with MAX Voice

The plans require a one-year term contract, with a $150 early termination penalty applicable. Customers who use the voice only service must spend a minimum of $30/month on toll calls.

Calling rates vary from free local calls in the Northland region, to 15¢/minute for national calls with a $2 cap for two hours. Calls to mobiles are charged at 39¢/minute, and international calls to Australia, USA, Ireland, UK and Canada cost 15¢/minute, with a $2/two hour cap.

Slingshot/Callplus obtained 3.5GHz frequency spectrum in the Greater Auckland area at the recent Ministry of Economic Development auction, but has yet to announce if it intends to extend the service further down south.

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