Telcos plan new industry body

Infrastructure lobby group agreed in principle

New Zealand’s telecommunications companies are planning a new industry representative body, but deny suggestions it will lead to them bailing out of user group TUANZ.

Computerworld has been told that a new body to represent the interests of telecommunications infrastructure operators is being planned and that the major telcos would then cancel their membership of the Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand (TUANZ).

The source says the telcos are annoyed that TUANZ CEO Ernie Newman is failing to give credits for progress on unbundling and for the benefits of projects such as cabinetisation and instead emphasising fibre to the home. The source also says the industry doesn’t see why it should be paying for a body that does not represent their interests.

However, those suggestions have been roundly denied by two of the major operators.

Vodafone spokesman Paul Brislen says the new group will be focused on network infrastructure and discuss and coordinate network builds.

“It will not affect our membership of TUANZ,” he says.

Mark Ratcliffe, the CEO of Telecom’s network business, Chorus, says TUANZ is a user group and represents the users while the Telecommunications Carriers’ Forum (TCF) has regulatory and technical roles. In that sense it is an iterface between the industry and governmemnt in the form of the commerce Commission and the Ministry of Economic Development.

Ratcliffe says a new body would be able to lobby on issues such as Resource Management procedures and will provide opportunities to avoid duplication.

“There is an egreement in principal between Vodafone, TelstraClear and Telecom,” he says. In the new environment those companies are not just competitors of Telecom, but partners and customers as well, he says.

TUANZ CEO Ernie Newman says he has not heard of the proposed new group.

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Tags TUANZChorusNetworking & Telecomms IDVodafone

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