12 Feb 2009

Mobile phone network confident of 2009 launch

3:22 pm on 12 February 2009

The country's third mobile network builder says it will launch its service this year and will seek to win customers from Telecom and Vodafone.

New Zealand Communications, formerly Econet Wireless, employs 230 staff in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, where it is building cell sites.

The company has agreements allowing it to locate its equipment on Vodafone's cell sites, and roam on Vodafone's network where it does not have coverage.

It is backed by private-equity shareholders and has invested millions of dollars in equipment. Its majority shareholders are foreign private equity groups.

Chief executive Mike Reynolds says New Zealand Communications wants to build as many cell cites as it can before launching and though it has not set a launch date it is confident the service will be rolled out this year.

He says the company has the financial backing to launch, despite the current global financial turmoil, and continues to spend its capital efficiently.