Acting minister of Commerce and Information Technology Trevor Mallard will have to stop making phone calls from his bath when 3G technology arrives.
"As my staff know, I've a habit of doing that when things get too busy," he says.
Mallard opened the Ericsson 3G mobile multimedia demonstration last week and was the first person to travel in a purpose-built demonstration van. Equipment in the van and in Ericsson's boardroom received and transmitted data using WCDMA (wideband code division multiple access) at up to 472 kbps - 50 times faster than current digital mobile phones - allowing real time conversations and video links.
Mallard has permitted a two-week temporary licence for Ericsson to show what it can do. New Zealand is the first country in Australasia to see the 3G technology at work and only the third in the world after Sweden and France.