Hiss and a roar from Woosh

Walker Wireless is aggressively targeting the residential customer and SOHO market with a new broadband offering it hopes will be available to 70% of Auckland by year's end.

Walker Wireless is aggressively targeting the residential customer and SOHO market with a new broadband offering it hopes will be available to 70% of Auckland by year's end.

Walker Wireless, now renamed Woosh Wireless, will begin service this weekend with an ad campaign promoting its entry-level 250Kbit/s service for $14.99 per week. For that price customers get an uncapped service, although Woosh CEO Bob Smith says the company will be monitoring usage levels.

"We'll take a median usage level and set the bar at about 10 times that level. If you're consistently over that we'll be in touch to see if you aren't better suited to a different plan." Smith says it will be a "customer service" contact rather than an "unpleasant experience".

The Woosh service uses wideband CDMA delivered to a small external modem. The modem will be retailed through Vodafone's stores and also Dick Smith Electronics at a retail price of $399. According to Smith the company wanted to seek a balance between performance, ease-of-use and flexibility.

"It's not the fastest service out there but it's also not the most expensive. The service is simple to set up and we think customers can have it up and running out of the box in the time it takes to boil an egg."

Smith says if any one of the various facets is out of alignment with the rest it will affect the customers' willingness to buy the product.

Woosh has other service levels as well aimed at business. Prices range from $109 plus GST for a 300Kbit/s for 2GB of traffic a month upwards. Speed points are 250Kbit/s, 300Kbit/s and 500Kbit/s although 1Mbit/s and higher speeds are also available.

Woosh also offers a temporary speed bump service where users can log on to the website and request a higher speed for a limited time in 15 minute blocks. Woosh is committed to a "universal price plan" for customers around the country, says Smith.

At launch the network will cover around 40% of Auckland however the plan is to extend that to cover 70% by year's end and to launch Wellington and Christchurch pilot rollouts this year as well.

"The network is easy to build and install. The biggest difficulty is often getting resource consent from local authorities."

Woosh is also rolling out service in Northland, Southland and Wairarapa following its Project Probe wins.

Smith also expects to launch a voice product this year that Smith says will be aggressively priced.

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Tags broadband

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