Woosh targets dialup customers with $30 plan

No voice offering just yet, CEO says

Contrary to mainstream media reports, wireless network operator Woosh Wireless is not about to launch its long-awaited voice service. Instead, at a press conference today, Woosh reiterated its goal of increasing competition for entry-level broadband users with the relaunch of its pricing schedule and the introduction of a $29.95 per month service.

Woosh's GM for sales and marketing, Sandra Geange, says the company wants to make inroads into the 800,000 dialup customers in New Zealand and saw an entry level product pitched at the right price as the best way to do that.

"There is inertia in the market and we do want to make it as easy as possible for users to switch from dialup to broadband."

Woosh's new campaign launches a new series of capped plans, starting at $29.95 for 200MB per month and reaching up to $69.95 for 10GB of traffic per month. Excess use will see the user throttled back to dialup speeds or having to buy a "top-up pack" of 500MB for $14.95.

The new plan is in stark contrast to Woosh's original aim of providing unlimited broadband access for users.

CEO Bob Smith says the reason for the change was simple: a limited number of bandwidth leaches trafficking in huge amounts of data.

"They've really spoiled it for the rest."

Smith says the acceptable use policy has been changed to reflect the new traffic limits but that existing customers on older plans could continue with those plans for at least the next two years.

Smith also introduced newly appointed chief operating officer, Rich Cane, who has been advising the company in a consultancy role. Cane has worked for a number of US telcos including wireless and cellular startups.

Smith also announced that Woosh was nearing the 10,000 customer mark, and says the company was spending money to build a network and back-end support system capable of handling "hundreds of thousands" of customers. Smith took great pains to ensure none of the assembled media scribes thought that meant the company would attempt to recruit hundreds of thousands of customers in the next year — just that the company had the capability for that many in the long term.

Woosh originally planned to offer a voice service more than a year ago, yet technology issues have dogged any such launch. Smith won't commit to a launch date for any voice service at this time.

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