Oh Telecom XT – you were doing so well


It’s time for an update to the Telecom XT network map. From the communications I can glean that the latest map looks something like this:

Spotty means you can’t guarantee that you’ll be able to hold on to a call for very long, or that your phone will even work. <update – Chris Quin tells business users that they are getting 90% to mid nineties success in calls being made and mid nineties in calls being retained until hang-up. That’s not that great – 1/10 calls fails to go through and a bit less than 1/10 calls fails during the call.>

No coverage – well don’t even try.

Telecom CEO Paul Reynolds has called for an independent inquiry into what went wrong.

3 suggestions for that inquiry

1: Independent means get someone who is “outside of Telecom or any of its suppliers” to lead the team. The only inside person that would make sense is a direct report to the CEO that is not in a responsible department. Chris Quin, head of Gen-i, may be a starter. <update @chriskeall asked Chris Quin Who will be engaged to do the independent review – and the response was an international professional company that is as yet unnamed is being retained>

2: Focus on identifying what the systemic failures were, and not on a blame game. What were the cultural, system, design, technical, individual and other issues that caused this to happen?

3: Fix the problem, and more importantly, fix the underlying causes. e.g. If one answer is redundancy, then over do it and triple up – you cannot afford to ever have this happen again. There will be a number of underlying causes, and you need to fix them all, starting with the culture that allowed this mediocrity to happen, and having very very good look at the way technology competence has been outsourced and managed. <I asked a question to Chris Quin “Will the independent inquiry cover structure and cultural issues as well as technical issues” and he replied to my question – “Yes” – the review will cover structural and cultural issues. He said that the cultural side has been amazing to watch, that people internally are passionate about making it world class. They will need to look at processes, technology, discipline.>

<update: a new version of the map:>

Published by Lance Wiggs


5 replies on “Oh Telecom XT – you were doing so well”

  1. I know I’m something of an XT hater and the pleasure I take from your suffering is bordering on unhealthy. However I did seriously consider switching mid last year, but decided not to because it was only slightly cheaper and only slightly faster.

    However this screw up has just been the nail in the coffin for me. I’d love better coverage, and I’d love better speeds, but until there’s been two years of no-fails, I can’t even think of switching.

    It’s a bit of a shame because we could do with real competition in the mobile data space…


    1. Two words: criminal negligence.

      Telecom must have been aware of a systemic fault in the Southern RNC since the first failure.

      There is no separate provision for 111 calling when the RNC is down. There is no failover or soft degradation.

      If you know that your voice network will be used to carry mission-critical calls and you operate a system with a systemic fault that makes it incapable of doing so, then you are criminally negligent.


  2. There is provision for 111 calls – all handsets and networks in NZ support emergency calls from any phone with a valid SIM card.

    If any of the mobile networks is down and you make an emergency call it will connect to any available network. Some phones will also display “emergency calls only” when they are connected to a non home network where no roaming agreement is in place but emergency calls are allowed.

    There were no issues with making 111/112 calls while XT was down providing you were within Vodafone or 2degrees coverage (and didn’t have a handset locked to UMTS mode which could prevent it from connecting to a GSM network)


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