Updated: 2degrees rejoins telco body

Telecommunications Carriers Forum undergoing reform

Fledgling mobile operator 2degrees has rejoined the Telecommunications Carriers Forum, a year after it left the organisation claiming it was controlled by the large carriers.

TCF chief executive David Stone has confirmed to Computerworld that 2degrees have re-signed as tier two members today. The TCF is an industry body that creates codes of practice around issues such as interconnection, emergency calling and local loop unbundling.

In June last year 2degrees quit the TCF claiming it was dominated by the tier one telcos – Telecom, Vodafone and TelstraClear. The governance structure gives the top three telcos each a seat on the board, while the tier two and three telcos share two seats between them. There is an independent chair and a non-voting seat currently held by TUANZ.

The structure is also reflected in the fees TCF members pay – Telecom pays 40% of the cost of running the TCF, Vodafone and TelstraClear pay 25% each, and the remaining 10% is divvied up among the other members who pay no more than $5,000 a year.

However Stone says the TCF is undergoing a reform which is likely to change the funding and governance structure and may be in place by the start of the next financial year, April 2011. “The TCF was set up a decade ago in slightly different circumstances. The industry’s matured and we should have a structure that reflects that,” he says.

It is his understanding that its proposed reform is partly why 2degrees has rejoined the TCF today. “One of the reasons for their rejoining now is, I believe, that they wish to participate in the debate around reform.” 2degrees spokesperson Bryony Hilless confirmed this but noted that, despite leaving the organisation last year, 2degrees has continued to work with TCF members on a number of working parties - for example, community consultation guidelines - and it was keen to formalise participation. “2degrees has joined the TCF because, as a growing player with a significant infrastructure, we want to ensure industry processes work for our customers,” she says. “We have been contributing actively on a range of working parties, so formal membership will build on that.”

2degrees signed up to the TCF’s Emergency Calling Code earlier this year, and Stone says they are currently discussing whether to sign up to the Telecommunications Disputes Resolution Service (TDRS), which is run under the auspices of the TCF.

Hilless says it is 2degrees’ intention to join the TDRS and the company is currently working on its customer complaints process to ensure it complies with systems put in place by the TDRS.

Stone was appointed as CEO late last year and said at the time resigning 2degrees as a member was one of his greatest KPIs. He says it is possible that TCF membership will continue to grow.

“Team Talk remains a possibility (as members), as do a number of parties potentially who may become industry participants as a result of the governments Ultra Fast Broadband initiative, but it’s a bit early to make predictions around that at this stage.”

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Tags tcfTelecommunications Carriers Forum2degreesdavid stone

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