Selasa, 27 Juli 2010

Warehouse, Dick Smith spills details of 2degrees' 3G launch

There was yet another sign that 2degrees' 3G launch was close last night.
An eagle-eyed Geekzone member spotted that Warehouse Stationery was already listing a series of 2degrees devices, all bundled with data, on its website (see screen shots below).
READ ALSO: 2degrees' US owner seeks to raise $NZ501 million
Before 2degrees August 2009 2G/pre-pay launch, Warehouse Stationery made the same error - and the details proved to be correct.
Dick Smith has also listed several 3G phones for 2degrees.
Couldn't possibly commentA 2degrees spokeswoman told NBR this morning: "2degrees doesn't currently have these types of products for sale. As to if we will and at what prices I couldn't possibly comment".
PB Technology also inadvertently (or publicity-stuntedly) posted a 2degrees modem deal.
Again, 2degrees did not comment. But it did confirm to NBR that PB Technology will be an official 2degrees hardware supplier.
10GB of data pre-loaded ... but what's next?The devices all come with a big chunk of 3G data preloaded - which can only be tapped when they are activated on 2degrees' 2100MHz 3G network.
Some of the bundled data deals seem skimpy - an Acer phone comes with 50MB - while others - notably 10GB of data with a $199 modem - seem generous. But without knowing the cost of follow-up pre or post-pay plans once the bundled data runs out, it's hard to gauge the competitiveness of the pricing.
As promised, there's an Android phone in the line-up, albeit a relatively obscure Acer model, the Smartphone BE-130.
And if Dick Smith's pre-launch listing is correct, 2degrees is also moving up the Nokia foodchain, with the all-touchscreen X6, (perhaps tellingly - for Friday launch conspiracy theoriests - the site says the handset is due July 29; the X6 is already available in Vodafone's lineup).

READY FOR LIFT OFF: 2degrees' head of network operations Nick Read.(with iPad 3G) and CTO Mike Goss (with iPhone) pose for NBR last week. Live customer 3G trials are underway.
Other 3G launch signsThe ultimate move for 2degrees at this point would be to spring a Friday surprise, launching 3G on Friday to ride the iPhone 4 launch hype (yesterday, the company delivered a working 2degrees 3G Mico-SIM to NBR, which is now resident in an iPad 3G; NBR is already using a Huawei data stick from 2degrees; see test results here).
2degrees completed its 3G network at the same time as its 2G network, but since August 2009 has been tweaking it. The company recently told NBR that after its present public trial concludes, it would block the network to customers, then once again tweak it before the official launch.
 
And the company is still in the very early stages of leasing store space and recruiting operators ... so maybe a Friday surprise would be a stretch.
 
2degrees, could, of course, just be trying to keep it fresh in customers' minds that its 3G launch is imminent, the better to give them pause before signing a long-term contract with Telecom or Vodafone.
 
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