Vodafone has signed an agreement with eight wireless telecomms providers in the US and Canada which will allow New Zealanders to “auto-roam” in 1049 cities in 29 states while keeping their own mobile number. Customers can either hire a 1900MHz phone and insert their own SIM card or buy a newly launched Bosch 718 World Phone which operates on both 1900MHz and the 900MHz used by Vodafone in New Zealand, Australia and Europe. The phone will be cost around $900.
Ericsson also plans to launch a “world phone” by the end of 1999. The Ericsson product will work on several different digital modes: GSM 900 and 1800/1900Mhz, D-AMPS 800 and 1900Mhz and analogue 800MHz AMPS systems.
Along with the Bosch world phone, Vodafone is offering Bosch’s 608, a consumer phone and the top-of-the range 908 mobile. The 908 weighs 109g and will sell for around $1500 in New Zealand.