Telecom in 'deep discussions' with Apple

Telecom revealed its full line up of XT phones this morning, plus two data cards. The iPhone, or any netbook or other laptop with embedded 3G, was conspicuously absent, but the telco had news about both.

Observers had not been expecting an iPhone announcement today, despite Telecom’s aggressive push to demonstrate that Apple’s handset can run quite capably on its new 3G mobile network.

However, it does seem that an iPhone 3G for XT announcement is imminent.

Telecom head of retail Alan Gourdie said that his company is in “discussions - deep discussions - with Apple”. Apple declined to comment.

Telecom is steeped in Mac aficionados, with chief executive and self-described “Mac Man” Paul Reynolds eschewing his PC in favour of a MacBook; Gen-i boss Chris Quin brandishing an iPhone tweaked to run on XT; and key employees like head of broadband Ralph Brayham and Employee X (the wilfully anonymous Telecom staffer who demonstrated an iPhone SIM card swap-out for NBR) able to count Apple as a previous employer.

Dr Reynolds acknowledged there was a lot of demand for netbook deals. He said an announcement was in the works (Vodafone already has a zero-dollars up-front deal with Dell), but would not put a date on it, only offering, “it won’t be years”.

Elsewhere were no major surprises in Telecom’s cellphone line-up for its XT network, announced this morning, with most handsets pre-announced. (A few details of voice and data pricing were also revealed).

Two data devices were unveilled, the Telecom MF636 Data Card ($199) and the Sierra Wireless 885u ($399). Both are rated with a peak download speed of 7Mbit/s. Pricing plans were not announced for the cards, or any phones, although the telco did offer a few examples of its new “OneRate” plan, and did let slip that it will offer a $1/day 10MB cap casual data plan - the same casual rate as Vodafone.

Dr Reynolds said this morning that there were 483 850MHz 3G devices (that is, designed for Telecom’s band) and about 115 for Vodafone’s 900MHz.

However, lacking the iPhone, or Vodafone’s broader range of BlackBerries (many of which are still restricted to 2G), the handset line-up lands few blows on Telecom’s rival.

XT’s hero phone, the Sony W995 ($999, above), is a Telecom exclusive and world exclusive. Palm also makes a welcome return to a mainstream carrier, with the Palm Treo Pro ($999)  joining XT's line-up.

But many other of the A-list devices in the XT line-up, such as the BlackBerry Bold ($1199), the Nokia E-75 ($999) and the fourthcoming $899 Samsung S8300 (which will boast an 8mP camera), will be shared with Vodafone. In the E-75’s case, Telecom will get a slight jump on Vodafone, getting the handset from XT’s launch on May 29. Vodafone will offer it from “late June”.

The E-75 (right), like many 3G phones, will come in both 850MHz (that is, Telecom’s band) and 900MHz (Vodafone) versions. However, each will be physically separate models; completely lookalike, but only supporting either 850MHz or 900MHz under the bonnet. Again like many 3G models, there will be no chance for SIM card hopping.

A Telecom-branded rugged phone was also announced, which looks to be a close clone or OEM version of the Sonim model recently mauled by NBR.

There will also be a custom “Bebo phone”, with a Bebo-specific soft key for accessing the yoof-friendly blogging service and uploading images. Txts to other Bebo members will free.

The cheapest model in the XT line-up is the house-brand Telecom R6, which will retail for $149.

Telecom also announced that its music store will be relaunched for XT at its May 29 launch. Few details were on offer today, but it will feature 2.7 million tracks.

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22 Comments & Questions

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So no word on a modem capable of 14.4mbps speeds? Surely that's the biggest differentiator between Telecom and Vodafone?

None of those phones will set the world on fire. Where's the Google-OS phone? Where's the netbook?

The pricing had better be seriously good to convince anyone to move from Vodafone. Seriously good.


There are only a handful of devices that run at the top category for HSDPA performance. The devices announced today support 7.2 Mbps, or you could purchase a device overseas (your best chance is Asia) that supports 14.4, but don't epxect much change from $1000.

Sit tight....the faster devices will come eventually.

If having devices that don't run at 14.4 (7.2 is still pretty darn good!!) means the network runs better then I'm all for that


That is all they are doing


I notice Telecom has the Sony W705 for $599 off plan - that is a whole $200 cheaper than the Vodafone version off plan (w715) - which is identical in all but colour.

Very competitive on that one.


I love how you say Telecom's been 'aggressive' in showing how the iphone would work on XT. I've been following reporting of XT quite closely, and the only person aggressive in testing it has been you Chris!

As for speed and data etc, no devicescan support 14mbps at the moment, I believe the max is somewhere round the 7 mark... I haven't seen plan details on testdrive yet.


You mean me Chris, or Chris Quin, the boss of Gen-i?


You! Well I thought that, but now you mention it, on a much less public way so has Chris Q. Lol.


In this article he states: "Dr Reynolds said this morning that there were around 350 850MHz 3G devices (that is, designed for Telecom’s band) and about 150 for Vodafone’s 900MHz."

Yet on the NZ Herald he states:

"Reynolds said that there are currently 483 devices in the marketplace that are designed to run on the 850MHz frequency, while there are only 50 available to run on Vodafone and newcomer 2degrees' 900 networks."

Dr Reynolds - what are you a Dr of? Pathological Lying?


Yes - Mr Reynolds should take a leaf out of the vodafone book on ethics! Present company excluded of course....(i would assume correctly that you work for them??). haha


Since this article and the Herald are both talking about the same speech then there are two options for what happened.

1) Dr Reynolds insidiously used his powers of mind control to make the Herald journo hear something totally different from Chris Keal despite both of them listening to the same speech.


2) The Herald journo or Chris Keal simply misheard or wrote down a different number than was said. (given the Herald's history of typos and misquotes, I suspect the former)


Oh wow...Telecom in discussions with Apple!
The revelations today are hardly exciting...certainly didn't warrant the hype.


And, I'm all for this "taking on the big guy" move from Telecom. I think Vodafone has been bullying around Kiwi's for too long. Telecom has had broadband to themselves but now there's serious competition. Welcome change to the mobile market I say. I'll probably make the move simply to support New Zealand :)


It's not a Sony but a Sony Ericsson, and the W715 has aGPS which the W705a does not.

As for 'taking on the Big guy', Vodafone took on Big Telecom and brought real choice and decent handsets to NZer's for the first time. How quickly some people forget...


Vodaphone is one of the largest corporations in the world - makes more money than New Zealand combined.

Let's not pretend Vodaphone is David to Telecom's Goliath ;)

To another reader, suggesting that Dr Reynolds might be a pathological liar?

Have you EVER heard of 'misquote'?


telecom is launching its xt network right? vodafone will have somthing to better it i bet they always do !


Do you really really think Apple would bother to talk to you? How many customers do you have? The main reason Vodafone NZ got iphone is because of their parent company. The Vodafone Group is big enough to arouse Apple's interest.


Do you really think a company makes money from turning away business. You're the one in "lah lah land".


do you mean latter?


either the Herald Journo or Chris Keal made a mistake, the former being the Herald Journo, the latter being Chris Keal.


A Telecom rep says Dr Reynolds exact comment was that there are 483 850MHz 3G devices (that is, designed for Telecom’s band) and about 115 for Vodafone’s 900MHz.


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