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Telecom finally launches O3B and 3G

Thursday March 13, 2014 Written by Published in Technology
A team from O3b visited Rarotonga in January to talk to customers about their experience of the service. 14011003 A team from O3b visited Rarotonga in January to talk to customers about their experience of the service. 14011003

Telecom Cook Islands is finally launching its much-hyped O3b fast internet and 3G mobile services, after months of painstaking tests and technical tweaks.

A blessing will take place at Telecom’s Aroa site this morning before a crowd gathers for a formal event at Te Vara Nui Village tonight.

The official launch will take place tomorrow morning, starting at 7am with a drummer-led convoy travelling around the island handing out gifts.

The convoy should be at Punanga Nui Market by 10am, where there will be a number of speeches and more giveaways.

Telecom is launching the two services under the tagline ‘The new experience’.

Sales and Marketing Manager Damien Beddoes said the team at Telecom Cook Islands is excited about being able to deliver both services.

“There’s a lot of pride from the staff knowing as Cook Islanders, they’ve been able to do this on their own. It’s being delivered by Cook Islanders for Cook Islanders.”

Both services have been put through three-months of rigorous trials in preparation for the launch, at times causing frustration to customers.

The mobile upgrade to integrate 3G data caused periods of slow connectivity and intermittent loss of services to broadband customers in late January.

Testing of the 03b service also caused outages for email, internet, mobile, and landline services.

Beddoes said those problems have been resolved and people can expect an excellent service.

Representatives of O3b and Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, which installed the 3G network in Rarotonga, are on the island for today’s formal handover.

The new 3G (Third Generation) mobile service will offer fast internet speeds to users of smartphones, tablets and laptops. Beddoes said the service will be about 10 times quicker – 2MB per second compared to 256kB - than the current 2G network.

At the same time, high-speed internet has also finally arrived in the Cook Islands with the launch of new global satellite service O3b.

Although O3b has only four of its eight satellites in orbit, the service is considered robust enough to launch now, Beddoes said.

The Cook Islands is the first country in the world to benefit from O3b.

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