All Blacks and Telecom brands aligned: Henry

Coach Graham Henry says rugby team and telco are both kiwi and both want to get better.

All Black coach Graham Henry told an audience of Telecom customers that he sees an alignment between the two brands.

“We’re both Kiwi, we both want to get better,” he told the audience.

Telecom is a major sponsor of the All Blacks and Henry was speaking at a function for medium-sized businesses yesterday evening. Prior to his speech, Telecom CEO Paul Reynolds spoke of the challenges facing his company.

He said to outsiders it looked as if Ultra Fast Broadband was a “row between politicians”, but it was part of tremendous change. “Our industry is going through a revolution,” he told the audience.

He claims Telecom has invested $5 billion in networks since he took up the role of chief executive four years ago and that this is three times more than any other industry player.

He spoke of the XT network, and read two customers testimonials about its speed and robustness. It is all 3G and HSPA+, he said. In America some telcos claimed HSPA+ is 4G, but Reynolds suggests this is a “marketing trick”.

He told the audience that Fonterra, Fletchers and Air New Zealand had all opted to go with the XT network, and he talked up the range of devices available – two-thirds of the 40 devices that Telecom sells are smartphones.

And then he addressed the proverbial elephant in the room. “We had a glitch on the network,” he said, referring to a software fault which meant voice calling for some XT customers was intermittent for at least five hours yesterday. He said it was winter and just as you might get a winter cold, so the network was congested.

He says when a glitch occurs you “front it, get it fixed, and move on”.

Henry told the audience that the All Blacks have regular get-togethers where they “drink Steinlager and talk on their Telecom phones” (a wry nod to his team’s corporate sponsors). Around the room they post all their achievements, but they are well aware that one ‘win’ is missing – the world cup.

He noted the All Black defeat against France at the last world cup. “You didn’t like me then did you?” he asked the audience, who laughed.

“I get people saying to me in the street, ‘You’d better win’ - well that’s the idea.”

He says that to win you need good leaders, smart people and “mental strength”.

“You need mental strength to handle the media, for when we have glitch on the network and they give us shit in the paper,” he said. Read more at Computerworld NZ

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