Gen-i says it will be the first service provider in the world to distribute Samsung’s Knox mobile security.

Telecom NZ’s IT division will offer Knox to its customers at the cost of around $5 per handset.

Gen-i will also host Knox on its servers. It will provide customers with integration services and build or help build custom applications on top of the technology.

Knox partitions Samsung Android devices with separate containers for business and private use. That way sensitive work information and personal content are kept well apart. A user needs to enter a Pin code to work in the business area where sensitive applications are effectively locked down.

Business only

Only business applications will work in this partition and it isn’t possible to move data from here to the personal partition. Users can’t copy and paste between partitions. They can’t access the secure partition from a USB device.

Until now only BlackBerry has offered this level of security. With that brand’s smartphone star now fading, Knox gives Samsung a chance to own the secure mobile phone sector and give’s Gen-i the opportunity to chase government and other accounts where security is important.

Speaking at the press conference, Samsung enterprise director, Verdon Kelliher says Knox makes it easier for organisations to offer BYOD.

Has to be Samsung

However, BYOD choice is limited to the eight Samsung Android devices currently supported by Knox, so how will this work in companies with mixed fleets of devices?

A Gen-i official say the company advises all its customers to install mobile device management and put clients on all phones. That way lost or stolen devices can be remotely disabled. He says Gen-i recommends Knox and Samsung phones for people who need to work with confidential documents. He says Knox is built on a technology known as ‘secure Android’ which means users can’t root their phones.

Gen-i chief operating officer Jo Allison says Gen-i customers are increasingly asking for security and they also want Android phones. At the moment about 30 percent of customers have Samsung hardware in their fleets.