It's not terribly often that a carrier beats a planned launch date for a major product -- let alone an entire new network -- so Telecom New Zealand's XT has already earned a special place in our hearts. Originally settling on a June go-live window, Telecom has now bumped up the date to May 13 midway through a NZ$574 million (about $325.5 million) investment to build out 3G services, which includes face time by Top Gear personality Richard Hammond (pictured) -- though they must be pretty far along in that investment effort, considering the CEO's claim that the entire country will be live on day one. Launch devices will include Samsung's venerable F480, paired up with planned July availability for the 8.1 megapixel W995 from Sony Ericsson. Look out, Vodafone -- these guys look like they mean business.

[Thanks, Ray]

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Telecom New Zealand lighting up 3G network on May 13