Woosh launches long-awaited voice service

Customers can keep their existing phone numbers

Woosh hopes to blow the lid off the phone calling market with its new, aggressively-priced voice service.

Two years to the day after Woosh originally launched, the wireless network company has finally delivered on its promise of a voice service. Users will be able to plug in their existing phones into a Woosh gateway device or make use of a softphone and headset on their laptops.

Woosh customers can upgrade existing connections for $99, which includes both the softphone software, headset and gateway device, or for $10 can buy the softphone and headset only. New customers will pay $199. Woosh recently signed an interconnection agreement with Telecom that allows users to keep their existing phone numbers.

Monthly charges for the service vary depending on the user's data plan, but range from $20 to $25 a month. Woosh customers don't need to pay Telecom's line rental charges, currently around $40 a month.

All local calls will be free for both residential and small business users as will calls to other Woosh customers in your home region. Calls to other landlines anywhere in New Zealand or in any of the top 35 international destinations will be charged at a flat rate of ten cents per minute.

Interestingly, calls to mobile phones in other countries will be up to a quarter of the price of calls to mobile phones in New Zealand.

Woosh's general manager for marketing, Sandra Geange, says the lower price of calls to cellphones overseas is partly due in the high mobile termination rates New Zealanders pay at the moment.

"We'd look to pass any savings on to customers made in that area," says Geange, referring to the Commerce Commission's ongoing review of mobile termination rates.

Calls to a New Zealand mobile phone will be 45 cents per minute while calls to international mobile phones will vary by country.

Woosh's service goes live in Auckland tomorrow and rolls out in other centres in the weeks ahead. Woosh's network currently operates in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Southland with Hamilton to be added to the network later this year.

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