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THE E-BUZZ

Thursday 20th April 2000

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Telecom has been ordered to treat all ISPs equally and not discriminate against free ISP i4free. A High Court injunction has cleared the way for i4free to operate. Clear Communications immediately launched its own free service, ZFREE, (www.zfree.co.nz) a service for home users. ClearNet, Clear's original ISP, is to focus on working as a business and premium service ISP. Clear said some factors contributing to the move included the market trend to free internet access and "the significant impact on ClearNet from the introduction of Telecom's anticompetitive 0867 regime." ZFREE is affiliated with Woolworth's online shopping site.

Siemens said it was gearing up for major expansion of its telecommunications business after adding two local partners. Atlas Gentech, with 1300 retail outlets nationwide, and South Island-based Cablecraft would give Siemens a strong network to increase sales of voice/data systems and products, the company said.

Telemedia Networks International has won its second major contract in Japan. This contract will see Telemedia supply equipment to Tokyo-based telco Nexing, formerly known as Multinet Tokyo. Telemedia will supply, install and support an intelligent network solution for Nexing, which will then provide a wide range of prepaid and calling card services.

Advantage Group is increasing its stake in Advantage Portable Technologies (formerly Computer Enhancements) and is acquiring Australian distribution company, Leopard Systems, in a bid to increase its share in the wireless market. Advantage will now own 80% of Advantage Portable Technologies, a distributor of Symbol, up from 50%, by issuing $2.8 million in shares. Advantage's stake in Leopard Systems, through Advantage Portable, will be a 50% stake for $A250,000.

Employment site company nzjobs.co had experienced 100% growth in the past six months with billings last month of $100,000, general manager Tessa Stewart said. "A New Zealand-owned internet site can produce a strong bottom-line profit," she said. nzjobs.co had over 124,000 user sessions last month and 4.9 million hits.

A Deloitte survey shows local businesses are lagging behind in getting into e-business and are not adopting new technologies much faster than they were a year ago. The full findings of the survey will be announced next week.

Vodafone and IBM have announced a local alliance to provide mobile e-business solutions using wireless application protocol (WAP) after a recently announced global contract. The contract would allow Vodafone to provide its customers with remote access to in-house databases and productivity tools, the companies said.

Listed technology investor Strathmore Group has reported a consolidated profit of $1.36 million for the six months to January 31 after a $1.54 million loss for the same period last year. The result represents earnings of 2.3c per share compared with a loss of 6.9c a share. The profit was on a gross turnover of $1.9 million and took into account a one-off gain of $2.04 million from the sale of Wellington Drive Technologies and writedowns related to Wellington Drive and CES Communications.

Telecom and pay television operator Sky Network are planning a packaged deal of digital TV, residential phone, mobile phone and internet services, with trials starting in May. Spokesmen said the deal was not exclusive and a decision on whether Telecom and Sky would formally package their services together would depend on the trial's results.

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