web analytics

  • Paying for Microsoft Office just got simpler for Vodafone customers. The carrier is now selling Microsoft Office 365 and charging customers on their phone bill. The deal includes added local support and set-up. Microsoft’s cloud-based Office software is a nice complement to Vodafone’s fibre broadband services, the company points out apps like Lync and Sharepoint work better with a fast connection. The move is part of Vodafone NZ’s alignment with the global company on computing and related services. Grant Hopkins Vodafone director of enterprise says Vodafone is the only Microsoft global partner offering this level of service in New Zealand.

2degrees mobile wallet

  • Another tap-to-pay mobile wallet trial kicks off. This time it’s 2degrees working with GE Capital. The trial allows users to load their existing GE Capital credit card directly only a 2degrees Galaxy S III phone. If you were to draw a Venn diagram of people with a GE Capital credit card, a 2degrees account and a Galaxy S III, there wouldn’t be many people in the central segment. 2degrees says the trial differs from others because there’s no need to load special funds on to the phone.
  • New small business mobile plans from Telecom NZ offer unlimited calling and text. They also let you share monthly data allowances between a pool of users. The basic plan is $119 a month with 3GB of data. A $219 plan comes with 8GB. Additional users cost $39 for unlimited calling and text, but they share the basic plan’s data.
  • Westpac says its Cash Tank app for the Sony SmartWatch is now live. The bank is whipping up interest by giving away smartwatches in a Facebook competition
  • There a total pool of $60,000 of funding from InternetNZ for individuals or organisations researching Internet topics. Each applicant will be eligible for up to $20,000. InternetNZ CEO Jordan Carter says: “We want to hear from those with a broad range of ideas for Internet research projects. Brief outlines of the proposed research are now sought and applications from any person or organisation will be considered so long as they meet the criteria”.

spectrum

New Zealand’s 700 MHz spectrum auction is due to start today. The auction is for nine parcels of 5 MHz paired spectrum. Each parcel has a reserve price of $22 million. That’s a total of $198 million. Few expect the auction to raise much more than that figure.

In the first round of bidding each bidder is limited to buying three parcels of the spectrum. With only Telecom NZ, Vodafone and 2degrees registered to bid, there are unlikely to be many surprises.

The only unknown is whether 2degrees is able to buy its full allocation of 15 Mhz paired for $66 million. Should it fail to do so, Telecom NZ and Vodafone will each be invited to bid for an additional 5 MHz block.

The 700 Mhz spectrum became available after New Zealand switched from analogue to digital television broadcasting. 700 MHz is especially well-suited to 4G mobile data networks, particularly in less densely populated rural areas because signals can travel further.  Or to put it another way, carriers can cover the same amount of ground with less physical infrastructure.

There are some interesting auction rules requiring successful bidders to increase their network coverage. For more details, see the Radio Spectrum Management website.