New CDMA, GPRS phones coming

Telecom will release several new mobile phones over winter with CDMA1x capability, the next stage in its implementation of its cellular network.

Telecom will release several new mobile phones over winter with CDMA1x capability, the next stage in its implementation of its cellular network.

Spokesperson Linda Sanders says the phones will be rolled out over the next couple of months.

The latest release of phones will include Samsung models. "Samsung is actually the brand we're keenest on," says Sanders. "For look and performance, they're pretty hard to beat."

Nokia, the world's biggest handset maker, will also make its entry into the New Zealand CDMA market with the 6385 model.

Sanders declined to comment on why the number one mobile phone company wasn't first to have its handsets being used on the New Zealand CDMA network, simply saying "we've been looking at the phones we think perform the best and are looking to sell them here".

Nokia spokesperson Keri Nielson says the 6385 model will be released in the third quarter of the year and that Nokia decided to skip the intermediate phase between the earlier TDMA technology and CDMA1x. "There are a lot of customers with Nokia TDMA handsets and we chose to wait until Telecom launched CDMA1x."

Telecom's first CDMA phones, released last year, were Hyundai, Samsung and Kyocera.

The CDMA1x phones will be released before CDMA1x, the next version of the current CDMA network, is launched later this year, Sanders says, but they will run on CDMA in the meantime.

Telecom will further detail the CDMA1x rollout when its nine month financial results are released next month, she says.

There is also a "possibility" that a Motorola model will be released and an Ericsson T60 is also planned, which will be Bluetooth-equipped.

Sanders emphasises that Telecom is still testing some of the handsets and their release "is not 100% guaranteed, but they're the ones we're most happy with".

Across the Tasman, a Nokia phone has been rejected by Telstra because it did not contain a chipset from CDMA developer Qualcomm and the main Australian carrier has yet to approve Nokia's 8310 GPRS phone.

In New Zealand, GSM and GPRS network operator Vodafone has approved the same phone for GPRS and presently has one other Nokia phone on the market and plans to launch another next month.

The company has four Ericsson GPRS phones, with a Sony Ericsson model, the T68i, to be released next month.

Two Siemens models are also on the market.

Vodafone spokesperson Sarah McGovern says "in the next couple of months we're expecting a further six to eight GPRS-capable handsets to be released".

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