The XT network debable – Winners and Losers

I was pretty angry at Telecom yesterday when I wrote Pay the $900,000 Telecom you cheap sods, but a day later it seems that they will do so. Good.

Now that the debacle is over, let’s check the winners and losers tally.

Winners – in order
Vodafone, for a well-timed legal action which created a major PR win and delay of a rival network

NBR – and Chris Keall for two excellent articles – one head and shoulders over the rest in summarising the court proceedings, and the other tipping that a settlement was likely today. Even their reporting of the final result is excellent.

Telecom – for capitulating in the end and continuing the journey on the long road back from purgatory

The Lawyers – they always win

Losers – in order


  1. For not doing the right thing from the start, and installing the filters to prevent interference with Vodafone’s network
  2. For not understanding how this was going to play out early enough and letting it get to court
  3. For the resulting major PR loss, the delay of the new network and the wasted marketing spend
  4. and bonus for all this happening so soon after releasing a video that says how wonderful they are

All of us customers – To have to watch two giants playing silly buggers with each other while we cope with inadequate mobile and broadband infrastructure

Vodafone – for having released into the public domain information that makes us thing you are stretching your network’s capabilities, making us realise why our call and 3G connections are so lousy.

<update: Reynolds is unrepentant, and says that Vodafone will share the costs of Filters. He also says that there are already 1000 filters in place. Courtesy of the NBR – yet again.

Money quote:

Although Dr Reynolds sees his company in the right, Telecom settled the case, seeing a two-week delay in XT’s launch as a price worth paying to rid it of Vodafone’s High Court action, and to answer a request from the Justice, in Dr Reynolds’ words, for both sides “to sort it out”.


“there will be some circumstances in which we share costs”.

which has the ring of  Telecom paying almost all of the time.


“Give me a break. The first I heard of it was late last week,” says Dr Reynolds, of Vodafone’s threat to go legal. “They finally came to the table two days ago”.

I would be looking searchingly at the strategy and engineering folk in Telecom if I were Dr. Reynolds. How the heck could this threat have been missed?>

And for your enjoyment after the fold are some tweets from this morning:

@lancewiggs Clearly they didn’t like being called cheap sods… Good result though well done Telecom

@bernardchickey (to @lancewiggs) – Good on Telecom for capitulating. They should have realised/known how this might end

@lancewiggsyup – it was a week, or even 2 months, too late.

@ericalloyd Good on them? I really am sick of all the ‘antler crashing’ meanwhile the customer is paying though the nose

@lancewiggs this is a huge improvement from TG days, and we should praise the wayward children when they play nicely

@ericalloyd wayward children playing nicely with way too many ‘zeros’ for me to be praiseworthy

@lancewiggs  we take the wins we can. It’s a long long way back from purgatory for @TelecomNZ

@bernardchickey:  I’m less sympathetic. I was inside the beast in 05. While ago, but as a customer I don’t see much different. B’band still crap

@peterdarlington Tut tut Bernard, that wouldn’t be in the spirit of cooperation that momentarily rules the cellular landscape…

@bernardchickey Momentarily is the word. New Zealand needs more competition and stoushes to get prices down. This fight has been great


@amatix  Voda won the PR battle for sure. About the actual issue, Telecom seems in the right…

@stevebiddle While I agree I have lost some respect for Reynolds. He didn’t need to attack Vf like he did.


@amatix No way – The proceedings look pretty cut and dried to me with Telecom clearly in the wrong. They had to capitulate

@gnat TelecomNZ has the launch date moved?

@bernardchickey: End of May apparently : That’s a whole lot of billboards to change


After this post was published:

@startupnz (to vodafonenz) did your PR guys drop the ball on this one on what! Looks like you’ve fueled interest in XT (holdng a bat ready to defend my …

@vodafoneNZ hardly. We worked in the spirit of the court. No comment while it’s sub judice (sp). Now it’s sorted. That’s good.

@dazzacollins I think its more a case of making the pain go away on the eve of launch, due to your competitor blindsiding you


@vodafonenz (to me) Vodafone customers are the winners. They get their service back.

@vodafonenz (to bernard) no need I believe. (in response to comment on billboards changing)


@nzlemming:  Does this mean the Hamster has crashed it already? :-D

@benkepes the lawyers and vodafone won. Telecom lost on a number of fronts. It’s not as simple as your post would indicate…


@ajobbins:@VodafoneNZ NOW my phone decides it wants to play up. On 3G tho… Outgoing calls failing/taking forever to connect

Published by Lance Wiggs


3 replies on “The XT network debable – Winners and Losers”

  1. Lance sees it as a PR victory to Vodafone, Bill Ralston sees a 4-0 PR victory to Telecom.

    I’d score it as Vodafone 1 Telecom 1.

    Telecom still looks arrogant, though not as arrogant in the past.

    Rightly or wrongly Vodafone emerges looking manipulative and bullying. And it appears the company isn’t telling the whole truth about its network performance.

    Curiously no-one seems to be asking how these issues are resolved in other countries where there are far more networks to worry about.


  2. It seems to me vfone is the new telecom… I mean, from all accounts both sides knew of interferance for some months. Vodafone blamed Telecom saying they should pay, Telecom blamed Vodafone for using substandard equipment and over stretching their network. Vodafone tries to bully Telecom, it goes to court. Judge basically says “work it out” and that it shouldn’t come to this. It now appears they have done this.

    It was surprising though, and I have to believe Telecom here, when they say Vodafone has effectively withheld information.

    And if there have been such drastic problems, why does Vodafone bring it to the fore now – I had to cringe at the comments about emergency services being degraded (as in it was already happening) and Voda being concerned for the public. If they were so concerned, why were they only bringing it to the public’s (and Telecom’s) attention just over a week out from the lauch of the new network?! And b Smacks of anti-competitive behaviour to me. Still even 1, 4 or 5-10 million is a drop in the ocean for both companies.

    All the fan boy posts aside (or are they telco staff posts?) I have been a customer of both companies, and have had both good and bad experiences with them, and some good. But I have to say Telecom wins hands down on service (over all). I had issues with Voda billing and even sought legal counsel and an independant review about it before they resolved it… Took 8 months and was a horrible affair. To blame Telecom’s network for causing all the problems is laughable. Voda service has to be some of the most shocking I’ve encounted, and their coverage has been pretty average at best for a few years.

    Still, many can argue Telecom are getting their just desserts, given their years of anti-competitive behaviour, and I would have to agree. However, they do appear to have change tact quite a bit, under the leadership of Dr Reynolds, and it appears to be working. The amount of pro-Telecom comments left by users on most sites seem to outway those of the Vodafone camp by about 4 to 1, so I have to disagree this was a ‘victory’ for Voda. I think they’ve prompted a bit of public backlash here.

    For a fairly interesting techincal insite I’ve been reading Geekzone (although you still have to wade through all the fan boy posts as well) and NBR for some excellent, level headed and honest reporting. There are far too many people online who sprout off ill informed opinions as if they were fact, or have an obvious bias.

    Anyways, that’s enough of my ramblings lol


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