Telecom XT draws 100,000 to network

But there's no evidence of any exodus from Vodafone

Telecom's $574 million XT mobile network is chugging along in third gear, judging by the number of people changing mobile phone provider.

Spokesman Nick Brown said more than 100,000 customers had joined the network in the five weeks since its launch, "suggesting large numbers of customers were waiting for XT".

In May, Telecom chief executive Paul Reynolds set his sights on making Telecom the largest player in the $2.2 billion mobile market with a market share of 45 to 50 percent.

Before the launch of XT, its share fell to less than 40 percent.

But data released by the Telecommunications Carriers Forum suggested there had been no exodus so far from rival Vodafone.

In June, 4682 people asked to port their mobile number from one carrier to another, up 1400 on the average for the prior 12 months.

Noel Leeming general manager of merchandise Jason Bell said sales of both networks had risen. XT handsets were selling better in the South Island than in Auckland, where Telecom has traditionally lagged its rival.

Telecom's entry-level XT phone had been popular, though it was also selling expensive phones that it had previously found difficult to shift.

Brown said the porting numbers would not take into account people who had stopped using Vodafone mobile broadband modems in favour of XT, as they would always be counted as new connections.

"We are seeing solid numbers of customers taking up the Sim-only option and moving to us from other networks."

ABN Amro Craigs analyst Geoff Zame said Telecom had announced it had won some business accounts, but these did not appear material. It would concentrate first on transferring its own customers from its T3G network.

"I don't think you'd expect to see any material shift in market share. The anecdotal evidence from stores is they were certainly extremely busy in the first fortnight.

"While they are still busy, it has settled down a little bit to a more reasonable level of business."

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Tags Telecom xtNetworking & Telecomms IDVodafone

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