Rosemary Howard’s trip to Cannes with Ericsson late last month didn’t result in any deals being signed to build a third generation cellular network.
However, the TelstraClear boss says she did learn a lot about shared 3G rollouts.
“No, I wasn’t there [the 3GSM World Congress] to sign anything, so I’m sorry to disappoint you.”
Howard took in two 3G rollouts in Sweden as part of her travels and says having competing operators building one network does work, as she would like to do here.
“I saw two different models, the first was being built by Hutchison and Vodafone, interestingly.” Hutchison and Vodafone are fierce rivals in the Australian market and Telecom New Zealand has a 20% stake in Hutchison Australia.
Howard has been in discussions with both Telecom and Vodafone New Zealand about jointly building a 3G network.
The second rollout she observed was commissioned by Telia and Tele2.
“Both are sharing their 3G deployments with their partners. In fact Telia is launching its 3G offering this week ahead of Tele2 and it doesn’t matter.”
Howard says the two models are quite different but are working well.
“It confirms it does work and they’ve found they have a 50% cost savings working together, which is important, and there’s far less environmental impact because communities don’t need to have multiple towers.”
Howard was also interested to see the shift in offerings at the Cannes conference.
“A couple of years ago it was just mobiles and now it’s all about fixed mobile integration and how you can get the same services over anything whether it’s fixed or mobile and that’s what customers want.”
Howard says that reinforces for her the correctness of TelstraClear’s strategy.