How to waste $500M

I believe this was announced a while ago, but I only noticed when it was twittered today: Vodafone NZ is extending their network so that there is 900 MHz 3G coverage over much more of the country.

I was quite elated reading that – the existing coverage is is not great, and it’s annoying having a very capable phone and not being able to use it as it was meant to be (especially when overpaying).  However, after asking a few questions, it turns out this is actually bad news – the extended coverage won’t work with the world’s best phone (only PR people really dispute that).  Since they’ve just extended the network, it seems pretty unlikely that they’re planning on a real upgrade any time soon, so this means that real coverage is further off, not closer.

The release has a list of 14 phones that can be used (only 14!).  These all look very uninteresting:

  • Nokia 3120.  Looks like something from 5 years ago.
  • Nokia 6121.  Perhaps 7 year ago.
  • Nokia 5320.  Perhaps 4 years ago.
  • Nokia 5800.  
  • Nokia N96.  A reasonable phone for its day – before people realised how good a phone could actually be.
  • Nokia E75.  Tiny screen, and two keypads.  Crazy.
  • Nokia E71.  Tiny screen, huge keyboard.  That’s the wrong way around, people.
  • Nokia E63.  These Nokia’s really do all the same…
  • Nokia N85.  A couple of years ago, this family of phones was pretty interesting.
  • Nokia E66.  The most interesting of the Nokias.  Still nothing fascinating.
  • Sony Ericsson 715.  Something not from Nokia!  I guess this might be already if you didn’t mind ugly and just wanted a pretty plain phone (but then what are you using the 3G for?).
  • Sony Experia.  It uses Windows Mobile, which I think everyone can agree is a joke at this point.
  • LG KS500.  Just a phone.  Ok, but boring.
  • HTC Diamond II.  Most interesting looking here, but (a) is this released yet? and (b) Windows Mobile.

What about the Pre? (ok, still coming soon).  What about the Storm or Bold – or any other BlackBerry?  What about the G1 (HTC Dream)?  And yes (the one I care most about since I own one), the one that they are all trying to better, the iPhone?

It’s possible that a third generation iPhone might support 3G at 900 MHz, but as far as I can tell Europe and the US don’t really have any 900 MHz 3G networks, so I don’t know why Apple would bother.

I’m not entirely clear on what Telecom’s about-to-arrive new network is, but my guess is that it’s not going to help (I bought the iPhone outright, so could easily switch if necessary, especially now there’s number portability).

For now, looks like we’re stuck in the slow lane.  At least the iPhone can use the home network when at home – I can’t understand why anyone would get a phone that didn’t have WiFi, especially with New Zealand’s terrible data prices/plans.

The one good side: having a twitter presence is great, especially since Brislen actually responds to people with useful answers.  He does seem to be quite good at his job – I wish this could be said about everyone at Vodafone!


One response to this post.

  1. In later tweets (I wish I could link to a conversation on twitter somehow), Brislen says that Europe is heading the 900 way, so that does increase the chances of an appropriate version of the iPhone later.

    I wouldn’t be thrilled about spending another $1200 to get the 3G capability, but I guess I wouldn’t rule it out.

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