FryUp: iFiasco

Quick five on Pacific Fibre

First you say you will, then you don’t, then you do (sort of)

Being a telco watcher in this country is a bit like being in that scene in the movie When Harry Met Sally (OK, it’s a "rom com" but stay with me here), when Billy Crystal’s character explains to Meg Ryan’s character that women in relationships fall into two categories — high maintenance and low maintenance, and that she’s the worst kind of category because she’s high maintenance but she thinks she’s low maintenance.

And that’s how it feels today watching Vodafone NZ launch the Apple iPhone 4. Here’s the story so far.

Apple release the latest version of the most hyped phone in the world. There are a few problems with antennas and stuff, but nothing its genius boss can’t handle by calling a worldwide media conference. At the event he mentions more lucky countries that will get the iPhone 4 on 30 July. New Zealand is one of them.

Tech media in New Zealand hound official Apple distributor for details of release and Vodafone spokesperson finally relents and says it will be available through Vodafone on 30 July.

Then, the day before launch, Vodafone removes information about the iPhone 4 from its website. The next morning Vodafone stores don’t have iPhone 4 devices. Vodafone goes quiet. Apple goes quiet. Then Vodafone says, actually we do have some iPhone 4s for sale — its limited stock so customers can only get them on-account. As if by magic, pricing appears on the Vodafone website — and then it changes. And then Apple says the device will be on sale at its online store this evening.

Launching the iPhone 4 should have been a “low maintenance” activity, but it’s not — it’s become “high maintenance”. Vodafone NZ could rename itself Sally. Which would make Apple Harry.

And now I can’t remember if they end up happily ever after in the movie or not.

iPhone 4 launch delayed

Vodafone NZ confirms iPhone 4 sale date

Mention of that genius boss, here’s a Steve Jobs parody

Is there room for more than two cables?

News that Pacific Fibre has formed a partnership with the largest privately owned cable network in the Asia-Pacific region is both good and bad.

It’s good news that Rod Drury, Mark Rushworth, Stephen Tindall, Sam Morgan et al look set to achieve their audacious goal of creating an international cable that will connect New Zealand, Australia and the US.

It's bad news because Kordia has abandoned its plan to build Optikor, a trans-Tasman cable. CEO Geoff Hunt says there isn’t a business case for two additional cables between New Zealand and it looks as if Pacific Fibre has beaten the SOE to it.

Which begs the question (actually there are loads of questions about both schemes but let’s just focus on one question here) — is there really only a business case for two international cables in New Zealand?

To quote one comment on Computerworld's online story: “NZ needs at least three international cable connections, preferably five if it ever wants to host a global datacentre for Asia. We have an advantage over Australia of hydro power, and cold climates. Let's get out of the business of exporting energy as aluminum ingots from Tiwai, and add value by exporting CPU cycles from Benmore.”

Kordia abandons trans-Tasman cable plan

More questions about the international cable

OK, so I couldn’t resist. Here are five questions about Pacific Fibre’s proposed cable in light of the Pacnet deal.

1.Has the focus of Pacific Fibre shifted from being a second cable out of New Zealand, to being a fifth cable out of Australia?

2.Will Pacific Fibre and Southern Cross Cable become a new New Zealand duopoly?

3.Why is there now a “kink” in the route from Auckland to the US in the map on the Pacific Fibre website, when their wasn’t one on the map provided at launch?

Map when Pacific Fibre was announced in March:

Map today:

4.With Optikor out of the picture is Pacific Fibre now a sure bet to pick up that $15 million of government funding that was promised by Labour for an additional international link?

5.Pacific Fibre plan to have the cable ready for service in 2013 — but how will they gain the necessary resource consents to land a cable in NZ, Australia and California (Telecom International’s former boss Matt Crockett pointed out to this correspondent that a cable hasn’t landed in California for ten years)?

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Tags AppleVodafonesteve jobspacific fibreiphone 4FryUp

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