Walker Wireless and Vodafone going steady

Walker Wireless has strengthened its relationship with Vodafone and will be rolling out its wireless broadband solution to around half of Auckland in the next few weeks.

Walker Wireless has strengthened its relationship with Vodafone and will be rolling out its wireless broadband solution to around half of Auckland in the next few weeks.

The service, currently known as Ultamo but to be marketed under a new brand name, has been trialled for the past several months. With three regional tenders in the government's Project Probe broadband scheme under its belt, Walker Wireless is ready to launch the product commercially, says chairman Rod Inglis.

"We've formalised our agreement with Vodafone and they will be selling our gear through their chain of shops. We're the only non-Vodafone product in there."

Inglis says Vodafone has also "consolidated" its position with regard to taking an equity stake in Walker Wireless but would not elaborate further.

Vodafone has already paid half of the $6 million for the Ultamo trial which saw 400 customers use the service.

Inglis says while pricing has yet to be announced, the service cost will "knock your socks off" and should stir things up in the broadband market. The wireless modems should retail for significantly less than the AirSpan product used on BCL's rival network.

BCL is to wholesale its service to Telecom, Ihug and ICONZ and has been trialling the fixed wireless system in Southland and Taranaki. The BCL network is scheduled to go live from November 1.

BCL and Telecom have won three of the remaining tenders in Project Probe for Waikato, Taranaki and Wellington. Walker Wireless and Vodafone have won the Northland, Southland and Wairarapa areas. The remaining tenders will be announced in the coming months.

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