Head of telco lobby group resigns

No plans to replace TIG CEO Rob Spray in the near future

The chief executive of the Telecommunications Industry Group (TIG) Rob Spray has resigned and his position will not be replaced in the near future.

Spray was appointed CEO in July 2009 to lead the Group, which was originally formed with eleven members in April that same year. Noticeable by their absence at the time of the TIG’s formation were 2degrees and TelstraClear and in the past year CallPlus, Citylink, Compass Communications and Woosh have left the Group.

TIG Chair and Vodafone CEO Russell Stanners says the board accepted Spray’s resignation at its meeting last week and it won’t appoint a new CEO until at least the New Year. He says the Group is waiting for decisions around the government’s Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) plan to be made and for more “clarity” in the industry before seeking a replacement for Spray.

Stanners says TIG’s existing membership remains committed to the Group and that it will continue to hold monthly meetings and engage the services of its secretariat ONZL (the same company that provide support to the Telecommunications Carriers Forum).

In the 14 months Spray has been CEO his most high-profile achievement was staging the Planet 2010 event in March which featured astronaut Buzz Aldrin. There are no plans to hold a similar event in 2011, although Stanners isn’t ruling it out.

Stanners says TIG members want to see an industry conference on the role of retail service providers in the new fibre world. He says the Group wrote to the Minister of Economic Development last month requesting a conference around the role of the ISP in the UFB. “It’s evolving an entirely new industry, what’s the role of the retail provider?” he asks.

Stanners says that the focus has been on the wholesale side of the UFB and there needs to be discussion about how retail services will be managed, such as industry standards for complaints, service levels and faults in the new fibre-based broadband environment.

Another area highlighted by Stanners where the TIG has been proactive is a shared database of fraudulent customers, which he says operates among its members. That is, if a customer runs up a bill and then leaves the carrier without paying his or her details are entered into shared database which other telcos within the TIG can access.

Stanners is the inaugural TIG Chair, a position that was to be rotated annually; however he will continue in the role in the meantime.

Meanwhile Spray has a new role in the telecommunications industry, which he is not able to announce, but it is not with one of the members of the TIG.

At the time of his appointment Spray told Computerworld: ““Our industry hasn’t got a great history of working together. It’s my job to change that and make what we are very transparent, publish what we’re doing on our website, make it clear and open and make our policy position very, very clear.”

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Tags Russell StannersTelecommunications Industry Grouprob spray

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