iBurst roams further with retail signings

Personal Broadband Australia (PBA) is extending the availability of its iBurst wireless broadband product, taking on Dick Smith Electronics and Bing Lee Electrical as retail stockists.

Dick Smith and Tandy stores will carry the iBurst desktop and notebook modems from next week in states where network coverage is available (NSW, QLD, VIC). Chilli Internet Solutions will be the bundled ISP.

NSW retailer Bing Lee launched its iBurst products last week. Previously, iBurst's only retail partner was Harvey Norman.

iBurst's retail expansion comes after the company moved in January to target the mass market, with new pricing and an advertising campaign.

The increased presence in QLD and VIC is a boon for PBA, as its main rival, Sydney-based Unwired, is yet to extend its network to other states.

Like Harvey Norman, Dick Smith has offered Unwired in NSW for some time, but iBurst's greater network coverage has been pivotal in the decision to add another wireless broadband product to its shelves.

"Certainly the coverage issue is important," said Dick Smith merchandise manager for communications, Alex Cochran.

"Brisbane and Melbourne are very big markets for us and iBurst has a bigger footprint [than Unwired]."

Wireless broadband had reached the ease-of-use level that made it a viable product for Dick Smith, according to Cochran.

"We've always said, as soon as a service provider made it consumer-friendly, we'd be in there.

"We did the same thing with Voice over IP about five months ago," he said.

Dick Smith had no immediate plans to package additional products with iBurst, to differentiate it from Unwired, said Cochran.

However, given time, "we will consider bundling it with a VoIP box from Engin", he said.

iBurst reseller T3 Communications also hopes the product will continue to grow, after it brokered the Bing Lee deal.

T3 supplies Bing Lee stores in network covered areas (about 20), and is looking for similar partners in Brisbane and Melbourne.

"T3 was focused on SMEs," said managing director Carlos Perez.

"But a deal like this put us on the residential level, and gives us the economies of scale to make money on the product."

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