'

Unwired launches wireless card

Wireless broadband provider Unwired has launched a wireless card offering for notebooks several months later than originally planned -- but only to a limited group of customers for now. The Sydney-based company today released the wireless card -- which inserts into notebook computers -- to what it described as "selected customers" in North Sydney, Parramatta and the inner west.

Wireless broadband provider Unwired has launched a wireless card offering for notebooks several months later than originally planned -- but only to a limited group of customers for now.

The Sydney-based company today released the wireless card -- which inserts into notebook computers -- to what it described as "selected customers" in North Sydney, Parramatta and the inner west. A full commercial launch of the card is slated for the first quarter next year.

The Unwired service is presently available only via a wireless desktop modem.

Network coverage "may vary" depending on whether customers use the modem or wireless card, Unwired chief executive David Spence conceded.

Spence had said in February the card would be launched in June. However, the company admitted in its annual results briefing in August that the launch timing could not be confirmed.

A spokesperson said around 200 people would participate in the trial, although she declined to confirm exact numbers. Participants would be offered an introductory package at a reduced rate, including a wireless card and an up to 750 kbps/128 kbps plan.

The limited rollout was designed to allow Unwired to secure customer feedback before going ahead with a wider-scale release, she added.

She attributed the four-month delay to the fact an earlier version of the Navini Networks-supplied card had imposed too much of a battery drain on notebook computers for Unwired's liking. The latest version of the card -- received by Unwired about two months ago -- was "very good from this perspective".

Unwired said it had 28,000 customers as of the end of June, 10 months after launch.

The company also revealed it planned to install eight new base stations in Sydney by the end of the year to expand network coverage, while upgrading a further nine to accommodate customer demand. The new base stations will bring the total number of Unwired stations in Sydney to 79.