Lucent has won the contract to provide Telecom with a new CDMA (code division multiple access) cellular digital network.
Motorola and Nortel had also been short listed for the strategic partnership, planned for commercial rollout in the first half of 2001.
Telecom’s new Australian subsidiary, AAPT, has also chosen Lucent for CDMA. It’s not clear whether there are two contracts or one large contract.
Telecom will spend around $NZ200 million on its new network, while AAPT will spend $A450 to $A500 million.
“By using the same network supplier, Telecom and AAPT have each been able to drive financial savings of tens of millions of dollars,” Telecom chief executive Theresa Gattung says in a statement.
She says the Telecom and AAPT teams will be collaborating on the development of the project and the use of resources.
CdmaOne is the brand name adopted for networks complying with the IS-95 family of cellphone standards set by Qualcomm and is the dominant technology backed by the CDMA Development Group. It has 2.5 to three times the capacity of D-AMPS and requires fewer cell sites. Had Telecom stayed with TDMA (time division multiple access), it would have needed 80 more cell sites. CDMA needs only 30 more.
Though voice will initially be the main driver for CDMA, high-speed data applications will be rolled out as they become available. CDMA offers a minimum 144kbit/sec packet data solution compared to the current 19.2 kbit/sec offering. It will eventually provide up to 2Mbit/sec in a stationary environment.
Telecom reported 857,900 cellular connections as at December 31 1999, when it announced its half-yearly results last week.