Woosh - News, Features, and Slideshows


  • Controversy continues on Telecomms Bill's second day

    Woosh’s Rod Inglis struck a controversial note right at the beginning of the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee’s hearings on the Telecommunications Amendment Bill. Picking up his theme of the outdated nature of the Vodafone 3G solution adopted for rural broadband, He said “there’s not even a consideration in the bill of what pricing for 4G might be."

  • Woosh reports small profit after large losses

    Wireless broadband company Woosh Wireless has pulled out of a financial nose-dive, posting a small profit of $1.3 million after previously burning through $180 million of shareholders' cash.
    The reversal in fortune was helped by the fact the company had already written off almost all the value of its network, which it uses to provide a wireless broadband and phone service in the three main centres and in Southland.
    Rather than incurring a big depreciation charge, Woosh instead upped the estimated market value of its network of transmission towers by $1.1m. It said the network would be more valuable than previously calculated to any company that wanted to use the towers to build a 4G mobile network.
    Revenues rose 7 per cent to $18m, but the company remains in negative equity to the tune of $11.1m and indebted to its shareholders.
    Woosh is competing in a consortium with state-owned enterprise Kordia and Wellington firm FX Network for a $285m government contract to upgrade rural broadband.

  • 'Shoulder to shoulder' telcos gain one voice

    ICT minister Steven Joyce just got a taste of how hardball the telecommunications market can be, with the announcement of a new telecommunications industry group to promote common telecommunications interests.

  • Woosh burns through another $21 million

    Growth appears to have stalled for internet service provider Woosh Wireless, which is reporting a bottom-line loss of $21.2 million for the year ended 30 June 2008.

  • New Zealand has WiMax opportunities, says analyst

    Analyst firm Frost & Sullivan's "Asia Pacific WiMax Opportunity" study claims the Asia-Pacific region will have as many as 43 million WiMax subscribers by the end of 2013 and generate revenues of $US11 billion (NZ$14.6 billion) at a compound annual growth rate of 45% from 2007-2013.
    However, while Australia is expected to make up just 2% of that WiMax subscriber base, Frost & Sullivan senior industry analyst Marc Einstein says New Zealand is different in several ways.
    He says New Zealand is like Australia in having an effective service duopoly delivering services at high prices and low speeds, but the recent auction of WiMax spectrum and the presence of Woosh "opens some interesting possibilities".
    "There is definitely a positive regulatory environment and players deploying WiMax," he says.
    Einstein, based in Singapore, agrees Woosh's recent financial results are not good. In February it recorded a loss of $8.8 million for the year to 30 June 2007 and secured further investment capital.
    Providers such as Woosh and Australia's Unwired, he says, are not as powerful as companies such as Telecom. However, smaller providers could end up coming together or someone new could come in and buy spectrum or buy Woosh, he says.
    One further significant difference between Australia and New Zealand is that both Vodafone and Telecom now own WiMax spectrum.
    "It makes it interesting, but they haven't come out and said they are going to cover both islands in WiMax," he says. sometimes companies just by spectrum to sit on it and "kill it", he says.
    In the end, the success of the technology here and elsewhere will depend on uptake overseas driving the cost of customer premise equipment down, he says.
    Across the ditch, the cancellation of the OPEL subsidy by the government and the improvement of the quality and uptake of the Telstra broadband network will relegate WiMax technology to a niche project, Einstein says.
    The OPEL fallout would have a broader negative for internet development in Australia, he says.
    "Despite progress made in broadband in Australia, speeds are still lower than elsewhere in Asia-Pacific," Einstein says.
    He highlights emerging Asian nations as some of the highest growth opportunities for WiMax because of its ability to provide data and connectivity at speeds of up to 1Mbit/s.
    "Australia and New Zealand tend to behave like Europe in regards to broadband. Some Asian markets don't have 3G at all, and when it comes it will be limited to the big cities," Einstein says. "Additionally, Japan and South Korea are the real pioneers of WiMax and will improve uptake by embedding chipsets in objects such as cameras and games consoles."
    Telstra and Optus were expected to trial rival LTE (long-term evolution) technology over the next 3-5 years in Australia, he says, and with vendors such as Motorola throwing support behind the standard, the current advantage WiMax has having certified products in the market would not last.
    However, Einstein points out WiMax's greater coverage potential compared to rival technologies like 3G could make it a better option for rural areas.
    Despite the OPEL fallout, a number of companies have thrown weight behind WiMax in Australia. Sprint and Clearwire alliance have announced plans to rollout a national WiMax network, while Telarus and wireless broadband provider, Clever Communications, announced a national WiMax service partnership earlier this month.

  • FryUp: No, minister?

    — No, minister?
    — Woo$h
    No, minister?
    Close, but no unlimited performance-incentive cigar for Telecom Wholesale. That's in essence Communications Minister David Cunliffe's reasoning for rejecting Telecom's Amended Separation Plan.
    Cunliffe says that he was swayed by public submissions to the Amended Plan, and says that while Telecom's revised undertakings came close to meeting his Amending Determination, a few areas of undertakings still need clarification. Right. And so the rusty wheels of bureaucracy grind on ... Telecom now has until March 25 to sort out its amended operational separation plan so that it pleases the minister.
    Separation Day was supposed to be March 31, on which date Telecom's undertakings become legally binding and enforceable. I see however that there's a "tbc" next to that date in Cunliffe's latest release, which presumably means "to be confirmed". That, and Cunliffe now being "hopeful" that Telecom will respond quickly so that "we may" still be able to meet the March 31 date, points to the separation plan time-table sliding.
    I'm wondering if we'll see any real unbundling action until 2009 at the earliest. i haven't had official confirmation of it yet, but I am told that Telecom has gone through all it's budgeted capex money for the current fiscal year already. If that's the case, unbundling progress could slow down even further. Would anyone from Telecom be able to enlighten FryUp on this, please?
    — Cunliffe rejects Telecom separation plan
    If you had a business that lost money — a good chunk'o'change, like millions of dollars — and it did so year after year, would you still carry on operating it? Moreover, would you expect others to invest in it, and lend the business loadsamoney to carry on?
    Common sense dictates that the answer to the above is an emphatic "no". However, I must be missing something subtly clever because Woosh the wireless provider carries on losing money, yet is able to raise capital with apparent ease.
    Last year, Woosh lost over $21 million, despite a 77% revenue surge. That didn't deter shareholders, who continued to prop up Woosh to the tune of $48 million in new equity, and $12 million in loans. In November and December last year, some overseas entities called Baytik SPC and Clarity Partners handed Woosh US$3.225 million and NZ$4.2 million. The money can be converted into equity, with four shares for each US$. With some 314 million shares issued, it would seem Baytik and Clarity Partners have taken quite a stake in Woosh. Clarity has been investor in Woosh for a while now.
    The accumulated deficit for Woosh is $117.36 million, according to the accounts, and there's over $89 million in tax losses that can be offset against future assessable income.
    It looks like Mercury Telecommunications, aka the internet provider Quicksilver, cost Woosh $2.918 million to buy. If, as was said, at the time Quicksilver had 10,000 customers, Woosh paid $291.80 per capita.
    Figures apart, Woosh says it's placing its hopes on WiMax rather than betting on local loop unbundling taking place. This sort of sensible, but depends on WiMax taking off overseas so that Woosh has access to cheap, mass-produced equipment; also, Woosh needs radio spectrum to build a WiMax network, and it'll be interesting to see if the company jumps into bed with another wireless provider to supplement the 35MHz of 2.3GHz spectrum it got in the recent auction. Persistent rumours point to Callplus and Woosh merging soon, but there are others too, like Craig Wireless with WiMax spectrum.
    Where's the technology roadmap for Woosh though? Should the company go down the WiMax route, what will happen to existing customers using the UMTS 3G broadband service? If there's no future in local loop unbundling, what will Woosh do with its 10,000 fixed-line broadband customers that came from Quicksilver?
    — Challenging year' sees Woosh raise more capital
    — Clarity Partners LP
    "Woosh Wireless is a New Zealand based broadband wireless telecommunications service provider that has a national UMTS spectrum license and is targeting both small and medium sized enterprises as well as residential customers. Partners in Woosh Wireless include Todd Capital and Vodafone New Zealand."

  • Spectrum auction concluded

    The Government's 2.3GHz and 2.5GHz spectrum auction was concluded on Tuesday.
    Telecom and Craig Wireless, a Canadian investment company, will pay $916,000 and $1.1 million each for 40MHz blocks, reports the Dominion Post. In total, telecommunications companies will pay the Government $4.4 million for radio spectrum.
    Vodafone, Woosh Wireless and the state-owned enterprise Kordia each won 35MHz blocks in the auction and CallPlus won 30MHz.
    The spectrum will be used to deliver wireless broadband using WiMax technology.

  • Battle of the bands develops over WiMax spectrum

    Woosh wants larger allocations, Auckland City wants spectrum set aside for the regions, Maori interests want to ensure their culture and heritage is protected and NZ Communications wants the Commerce Commission involved.