A week after the telecom fraternity celebrated 20th
anniversary of GSM, Telecom New Zealand has confirmed news reports that it will
be closing down its CDMA network by 31st July 2012.
Post the launch of its XT WCDMA-based network on 29 May,
2009, New Zealand’s national operator said it would be closing down its CDMA
network in mid-2012, and no devices or communication will be able to take place
on this network after that. CDMA customers on this network, however, will get
to maintain their existing numbers, even when they join the new WCDMA network.
New XT network handsets are being offered free of cost for existing CDMA
customers, with attractive tariff plans on the new network.
CDMA networks around the world are slowly giving way to
WCDMA or LTE, and a number of countries in Europe and Asia Pacific are
successfully upgrading their 4G networks to LTE. While Telecom New Zealand has
invested over NZ$574 million (US$330 million) for its core network, backhaul
and retail stores and services, Vodafone New Zealand also constructed a
nation-wide 3G WCDMA 900 MHz network in areas where they did not already have
an existing 2100 MHz network.
Vodafone controls 66 percent of the New Zealand mobile
market. 2degrees, a greenfield operator in New Zealand has also started a WCDMA
2100 network. At a time when most countries in Europe have WCDMA coverage in
major urban areas and GSM in smaller towns and cities, New Zealand is one of
the few countries with two nationwide 3G WCDMA in the 850 Mhz and 2100 Mhz
bands – provided by Vodafone and Infill. The country will have a third option
with Telecom New Zealand’s XT 3G WCDMA network, which will work on the 850 Mhz
By Beryl M