Unwired calls the shots in wireless war

The wireless war is definitely "on" and Unwired is calling the shots. The wireless Internet provider is throwing the gauntlet down to BigPond in Sydney, with new user-plans that dramatically increase monthly downloads, at no extra cost.

The entry level 256/64Kbps $29.95 monthly plan now has 300MB download limit, up from 200MB. The 256/64Kbps $34.95 monthly plan increases from 400MB to 600MB. The 256/64Kbps $39.95 plan and the 512/128Kbps $54.95 plans both get their download allowance doubled, from 1GB to 2GB.

This is double the maximum download allowance that the newly launched BigPond wireless plans currently offer.

BigPond wireless modem plans start at $34.95 a month for 256/64Kbps speeds and allow 200MB of downloads. The next plans each cost $44.95 a month -- one offers 256/64Kbps speed with 1GB usage allowance; the other offers 512/64Kbps with 400MB usage allowance. The top plan costs $59.95 per month, offers 512/64Kbps speeds and allows 1GB usage.

BigPond counts uploads as well as downloads in its usage and charges 15 cents per MB of excess use. Unwired only counts downloads in its allowance and users are scaled back to 64Kbps speed once the allowance has been reached.

Although Unwired currently only covers metropolitan Sydney, it has plans to expand its reach through investment in WiMAX. This will be substantially aided by Intel Capital's investment of $37 million in secured convertible notes, primarily for Unwired to expand its services to other major Australian cities.

Unwired will initially deploy technology from US-based broadband wireless access solutions provider, Navini Networks, for its WiMAX networks. Dual-mode customer modems and base stations, which can operate Unwired's current proprietary technology and WiMAX-based technology will be available in the first half of 2006.

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