Calls are mounting for government to step in and take action over Telecom's seemingly endless problems with its new 3G mobile network.
Last week, Labour's ICT spokeswoman chided Minister Steven Joyce over his silence on the issue, saying thousands of Kiwis who’ve switched to XT "continue to plagued by technical problems but as yet we’ve have no signal from Mr Joyce that he cares enough to intervene to at least seek assurances that the faults will be properly fixed”.
She repeated her call this morning, saying it was time for Joyce to "get on the blower".
Last night, after yet another outage south of Taupo, Telecommunications Users' Association boss Ernie Newman also used the "g" word.
See also: More XT outages south of Taupo
“Telecom needs to do something drastic to assist the customers it is repeatedly letting down. If it doesn’t, then it may be time for the government to step in as a national economic issue. This cannot be allowed to go on," Newman said.
TUANZ says it recognises the complex nature of mobile networks and has given Telecom the benefit of the doubt so far.
“But enough is more than enough," Newman said.
“Phone networks, despite being in private ownership, are part of the nation’s essential infrastructure. Telecom’s repeated service failures have become a major cost to the large and small businesses who are dependent on reliable connections with their staff and customers, as well as to residential users. People’s lives and businesses are being seriously dislocated – Telecom has a duty of care to its customers and is letting them down."
Curran said last week that the performance of the XT network is "now beyond widespread customer dissatisfaction and calls into question the reliability of some major economic infrastructure and the ability of Telecom to operate and maintain it". “Steven Joyce must seek assurances on behalf of XT customers who rely on their mobile phones for personal, business and emergency reasons that Telecom has the situation under control.” She also pointed out that Telecom is tendering to roll out the government’s $1.5 billion broadband network. "The government has to have confidence that Telecom can operate its core business national network before considering it for the taxpayer funded broadband network.” Curran said. Telecom CEO Paul Reynolds will front a briefing today on the XT network's issues. This morning Curran repeated her call for Joyce to step in. “The patience of XT customers has run out and the lack of public confidence in the mobile network requires Steven Joyce to ask some frank questions of Telecom management,” Curran said. “The Government has been more than happy to sit back and let customers make up their minds about the quality of Telecom’s XT network, but the unreliability of the network is now an infrastructure issue." Curran says Joyce needs to seek assurances that the technical issues Telecom is having are being addressed to seek a permanent solution and are not just being patched up every time XT fails.