27/03/2007

TECH FUNDING, THE $100 MILLION BET

My Herald story today about a clever little company called Optima, which made good use of a $500,000 Foundation of Research Science and Technology grant and its place in the Icehouse incubator to achieve exporting success.

Also, in the Dominion Post, news that Econet has officially signed its $100 million plus deal with Huawei for construction of a mobile network, within "18 months according to the Hautaki Trust. I knew the deal was in place when I went to China, but they seem to have chosen the visit of the Chinese deputy premiere to officially announce it.

That's good news for Econet, which strangely, has renamed itself New Zealand Comunnications, but where's the business case for its entry, in reality? We've got two major players already in the market, 96 per cent mobile phone penetration and Econet with a stated strategy of competing for low end customers on price. I don't see it working out, unless it can find some way of using its 3G spectrum to deliver services that diffierentiate it from Vodafone and Telecom. I'll be very interested to see what its angle is on launch...

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