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How fast will Telecom NZ's XT network go?

More details on Telecom's XT network has been revealed, but why can't its wholesale partners have access to it?
Written by Juha Saarinen, Contributor

Put in a quick question to Telecom New Zealand about what kind of speeds users of the new XT network can expect, Rebecca Earl, the telco's Sponsorship and Mobile PR manager, responded with:

Regarding speeds our new XT Mobile Network supports average speeds of 3Mbps downlink and 1Mbps uplink, and peak download speeds will be 14.4Mbps downlink and 5.7Mbps uplink. Later in 2009 we're enhancing our new mobile network by upgrading to Evolved HSPA, or HSPA+.

This will allow average speeds of 4Mbps downlink and 1Mbps uplink, and peak download speeds will be 21Mbps downlink and 5.7Mbps uplink. We are one of only a number of networks worldwide who have committed to deploying this cutting edge technology.

Vodafone is currently tooling away, upgrading its network to 7.2Mbps; so on paper, Telecom's new network will be faster. However, it remains to be seen if Telecom will have a 14.4Mbps capable device, or be stuck with 7.2Mbps until 21Mbps cards (and maybe handsets) become available. While I have seen announcements from Far East vendors about 14.4Mbps HSDPA devices, you'd be hard-pressed to locate one currently anywhere; that's not to say Telecom couldn't source one of course, for 850MHz.

As for the 21Mbps upgrade, expect Vodafone to follow suit later this year and also kick off LTE, being a Nokia-Siemens test-bed operator for that technology.

With UMTS/WCDMA making such performance leaps in a short period of time, you have to ask what Telecom's MVNO partners think. TelstraClear is one, and has been told it won't have access to the WCDMA network on wholesale terms until 2011. Meanwhile, it'll be stuck with Telecom's existing CDMA 2000 1xRTT/EV-DO Rev A technology, which is no slouch but deserted by vendors and falling behind WCDMA.

Now that Vodafone is signing up more MVNOs — it already has two on-board, and announced today that Callplus/Slingshot will become one too — it would pay for Telecom to start thinking wholesale as well for XT. Otherwise, Vodafone will dominate in that market too.

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