Good scoop by Juha at Geekzone, who came into possession of a document advising Telecom's board to look at investing in a hybrid CDMA-UMTS mobile network to solve their problem of being stuck at the end of the world without a CDMA partner in sight.
The story broke in CommsDay in Australia just as Telecom was holding a management briefing, so the timing was perfect. As it has been pointed out to me by Telecom's PR people, the company is considering all sorts of options for its future mobile network strategy. But the reality is that it will move to GSM/UMTS. The question now is whether it ditches CDMA altogether or take this hybrid path which will be more expensive but mean it gets to maintain its existing user base and all the CDMA telemtry equipment out in the market - parking meters, coke machines, that sort of thing.
As I wrote in an earlier Herald column posted below, the Worldmode phone concept isn't the answer to the CDMA roaming problem. With Telecom giving people the choice of a GSM network at home, it means those who do travel regularly can choose from a more extensive range of handsets and have seamless roaming overseas.
The question really is whether Telecom will consider a shared build of any such network. Would it team up with, say, an Econet or TelstraClear to build a GSM/UMTS network, cutting its costs dramatically in the process?