Clear Communications and Vodafone have announced an agreement that lets Clear offer a range of Vodafone mobile services to its customers.
Among those services will be mobile messaging tied into Clear Net email services. Mobile users will be able to check Clear email on their phones, using filtering if required. Clear CEO Tim Cullinane said yesterday that a "total array" of Clear mobile services and products would be rolled out over the next six to nine months.
For the mobile announcement, Clear has launched a new e-commerce Web site that lets both existing and new Clear customers buy mobile service and phones online - and even choose their own numbers - with no need to sign a paper contract. The company is promising delivery of new handsets within 48 hours.
Vodafone managing director John Roughan hailed the fact that Clear had chosen an exclusive agreement with his company and also emphasised mobile Internet as a key direction. He said Vodafone would soon be offering a "global Internet" platform using technology from IBM and Sun and content from the BBC, among others.
Both men said they expected the alliance to drive mobile market growth even higher than it has been since Vodafone bought BellSouth's business 15 months ago. Since then, mobile penteration has doubled from 17% to 34% and Vodafone's new connections are running at eight times what BellSouth was doing before it sold up.
The agreement gives both companies a boost over Telecom, which is also focusing heavily and mobile data and WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) Internet solution but is waiting on its new CDMA network for more advanced services. Cullinane said "quite a list"of New Zealand companies had expressed interest in buying new mobile services from Clear.
New Zealand is the second country where Clear's 100% parent, British Telecom, has aligned with Vodafone. The other is Japan, a market also dominated by a large incumbent telecommunications company.