Telecom's next-generation cellular network, CDMA, was launched yesterday in Auckland with a fleet of new phones and seven new price plans that see data downloaded to customers’ phones from $8 per megabyte.
The new network will eventually run at around 155kbit/s, although end users will see speeds of between 60 and 100kbit/s, says Telecom mobile general manager Mohan Jesudason. CDMA cellphones have a different prefix to existing Telecom mobiles - 027.
Telecom has split voice calls out from data calls and charges for the two separately. Existing 025 customers will now come under its new pricing regime for voice calls, called Talk Time.
Under its CDMA umbrella, Telecom has two plans aimed at the consumer, Mytime 50 and Mytime 200, both of which offer free "off-peak" calls and discounted rates for calling other Telecom cellphones - 22 cents per minute instead of 44 cents for non-Telecom cellphones. All prices are excluding GST.
For business users, Telecom has five Anytime plans that have a flatrate for voice calls, 35 cents per minute to other Telecom mobiles or 70 cents per minute to any other phone. These prices are also excluding GST. Text messages on either Mytime or Anytime plans cost 18 cents per message without GST, although Telecom appears to have fallen into the same trap as Vodafone by claiming text messages will cost 20 cents including GST instead of 20.25 cents. Vodafone was investigated by the Commerce Commission on just this matter earlier this year and forced to refund $35,000 to customers for over charging them by 0.25 cents per text message.
Telecom's data options range from casual data users up to someone who would send or receive up to 4MB of data in a typical business day. Prices start from a flat rate of four cents for 5KB, around $8 per 1MB, and go up to a monthly fee of $100, which comes with 70MB of free download capacity. Additional transmission charges of one cent per 5KB apply to this top-end pricing plan.
Jesudason says pre-paid users won’t be able to take advantage of CDMA's higher data speeds unless they switch to one of the new contract-based plans.