TelstraClear flexible on how it does mobile: Howard

TelstraClear is issuing a tender for a possible new mobile network this week because it wants to be a full service telecoms provider, chief executive Rosemary Howard says.

TelstraClear is issuing a tender for a possible new mobile network this week because it wants to be a full service telecoms provider, chief executive Rosemary Howard says.

"We need fixed and wireless, so that whatever way a customer comes in, they can access the same functionality.

"Convergence is the natural evolution in telcos - a customer should be able to do anything from anywhere."

TelstraClear re-sells Vodafone's mobile services and that arrangement will continue for 12-15 months, Howard says.

However, after that TelstraClear intends to run its own mobile service platform, because the problem with the re-seller arrangement is that "the intelligence is on Vodafone's network, not ours".

Getting its own mobile intelligence won't necessarily mean building a new network from scratch, however.

"There are things like MNVOs - mobile virtual network operators - or we could put our intelligence on someone else's network."

TelstraClear would seek to take advantage of a rule allowing a mobile operator who has a network covering 10% of the country to roam on another provider's network.

"Under the old regulatory environment, you would have had to build a whole new network but under the new one, you can build it in stages.

"We don't mind how we do it, whether we get some functionality from existing network operators, with a vendor to build a new network or if someone else finances it, with us using the service layer."

TelstraClear owns both 2G and 3G spectrum and Howard says it's "very unlikely that you'll see 2G."

The RFI (request for information) will seek expressions of interest in all forms the new service could take.

"It's far less prescriptive than you may have seen in the past - we don't mind being a vertically integrated telco, partnering and being part of an efficient industry."

Telecom spokesman John Goulter says Telecom isn't surprised TelstraClear has undertaken the RFI process.

"It doesn't come as a surprise that they're looking to operate mobile services here."

The two telcos have talked about a possible reseller arrangement, he says.

"We've had discussions with them regarding reselling Telecom's mobile product and there is a proposal with them which we're keen to discuss further."

As Telecom resells fixed line services, it would make sense to do the same for mobile, he says.

Vodafone was unable to comment yesterday in time for deadline, but was aware of TelstraClear's plans.

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