Emissions from new transmitters acceptable, says Telecom

Lawyers for Telecom have told the High Court that emissions from transmitters from their new mobile phone network are within acceptable levels.

Telecom was responding in the High Court at Auckland today to legal action brought by its rival Vodafone trying to stop it rolling out its new network on May 13.

Vodafone says its customers were already suffering interference from Telecom's new transmitters while they were being trialled, as they had no filters attached which would prevent this.

It says Telecom knew about this but it had still brought forward the launch of its new network in the knowledge it would harm Vodafone.

Telecom lawyer Pheroze Jagose told Justice Venning this afternoon that some rogue emissions from the transmitters were inevitable.

But he said it was doubtful that what was being emitted met the legal requirement of harmful interference, and that emissions from the transmitters were within legally acceptable levels.

Mr Jagose said the filters were not preferable as they reduced the signal coverage area of the transmitter.

He said Vodafone was trying to delay the launch for anti-competitive reasons.

Vodafone was relying on legal precedents which involved patents, which Mr Jagose said did not apply in this case.

"Vodafone is acting as if they held a patent, rather than being open to proper competition," he said.

Mr Jagose also said Vodafone needed to consider what it could do to reduce the impact of any emissions.

Earlier, Vodafone lawyer Julian Miles said rogue emissions had already caused dropped calls and difficulty in making calls on its network.

He said this could be dangerous given that many emergency calls were made on Vodafone mobiles.

Given that the testing was only carried out at 15 to 20 per cent of the transmitters' power, the interference would be much greater after the May 13 launch, Mr Miles said.

He said Telecom knew the transmitters were causing problems and argued it was bringing forward its launch date hoping its competitors would not try to stop it and then negotiate afterwards.

Mr Miles said Telecom would be claiming its service was superior at a time that it was effectively degrading Vodafone's network through the unfiltered transmissions.

"Vodafone has no difficulty competing with Telecom on an even playing field," Mr Miles said.

"What we say is that the playing field has been altered illegally, knowingly, and deliberately, and an interim injunction is required."

Vodafone only sought to delay the launch, not stop it, he said.

Justice Venning reserved his decision but said he hoped to give it tomorrow.

- NZPA

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