Vodafone releasing iPhone in NZ

Vodafone will launch Apple's "iPhone 3G" in New Zealand shops on Friday.

The long-awaited device is a second-generation version of the initial iPhone launched in the United States a year ago, and is half the price.

It will cost $199 on a two-year contract.

The phone sells for $US199 in the United States.

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said at the launch of the phone last month the price would be about the same price around the world.

Selling it in New Zealand dollars, makes it cheaper in New Zealand than the US.

The new iPhone is built for high-speed wireless networks with faster Internet access.

In a drip feed announcement to help spark public interest, Vodafone will be releasing the full price and plan details today at 10am on its website.

In Dunedin, the iPhones will be available at Magnum Mac, Crawford St, First Mobile, the Meridian shopping mall and Student IT, Frederick St.

In Queenstown, the iPhones will be sold at First Mobile, O'Connells Centre.

The iPhone will be on sale just after midnight in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Vodafone said stocks were limited.

The telecommunications company announced last week it was extending its 3G broadband network to reach 97% of New Zealanders by April 2010, from the current 63% of the population.

The company is investing a total of $500 million in its 3G - third generation - infrastructure.

"This means broadband will be available on customers' mobiles and it can be used as a cost-effective home solution especially in areas where no landline-based broadband is available," Vodafone corporate affairs general manager Tom Chignell said.

Vodafone was improving the downlink speed to 7.2 megabits per second (Mbps) and in future, peak downlink speeds will range up to 28.8Mbps and uplink speeds will be up to 11.5Mbps using High Speed Packet Access (HSPA).

HSPA was a set of technological standards allowing mobile operators to offer download and upload speeds similar to those offered over broadband lines in the home.

It was also one mechanism to bring faster broadband speeds to rural New Zealand, Communications and Information Technology Minister David Cunliffe said.

To reach customers in provincial and rural regions, it was more cost-effective to use HSPA in the 900MHz band rather than the 2100MHz band that had been used previously in urban areas.

"While many countries are still struggling with the removal of outdated restrictions on the use of lower frequency bands for HSPA, the flexible spectrum regulatory arrangements in New Zealand mean that the benefits of this technology can be delivered to New Zealanders now," he said.

The Government had committed $350 million over five years to speed up the introduction of faster broadband.


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