Updated: CallPlus pulls out of TIG

Challenger cites Telecommunications Industry Group's support for carrier licensing

CallPlus is withdrawing from the Telecommunications Industry Group (TIG) joining major telco TelstraClear and others in not supporting the new industry body.

“We are supportive of the TIG’s efforts to promote the industry and make consumers and businesses aware of the capabilities and benefits they can get from the services the industry offers” says CallPlus CEO Mark Callander.

Callander says the withdrawal is driven by concerns with some of the messages that TIG has promoted, both publicly and to the government.

"The inference is that the TIG represents an industry view, however, the reality is that it is predominantly the view of the larger incumbent network operators. The TIG naturally favours little or no regulation, certainty for network investors and a dislike of government investment or intervention," Callander says.

"This is certainly not the view of CallPlus or Slingshot and other challenger telcos.”

CallPlus cited TIG's advocacy of the introduction of licenses for telecommunications carriers, first reported in Computerworld, as an example.

CallPlus says it is very cautious about such moves which can drive costs into smaller competitors or prohibit entry to the market for competitors.

" It is not necessarily in the best interest of consumers” says Callander.

TIG CEO Rob Spray says CallPlus resigned from the organisation a month ago [before Computerworld reported the licensing issue] and there is "no bad blood".

"I'm disappointed but it's what happens," he says.

Spray says representing challengers as well as major carriers is part of TIG's mission, and it is a challenging one.

"I think that's an area I need to work on," he says.

However it is also important that TIG doesn't become so watered down it doesn't say anything.

Callander says that while the TIG claims to be the "voice of the industry" it now has some noticeable absentees from its membership including TelstraClear, CallPlus, 2 Degrees and Compass Communications.

“We are not against minimum standards within the industry on the basis that they are developed and agreed in conjunction with the wider industry such as the Telecommunications Carriers Forum (TCF).”

"CallPlus will continue to engage and work with the industry through the TCF which has an established track record and a more importantly wider membership within the industry," Callander says.

Spray says his position and Callander's are not that different in as much as both believe minimum standards need to be set.

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