Two weeks ago 14 chief executives of the companies that belong to the Telco Club met at an undisclosed location. Fry Up understands the purpose of that meeting was to look for ways in which they could work more closely together, with the aim of reaching a consensus of opinion about the future of the New Zealand telecommunications industry.
Also in attendance for part of that time was a Minister of the Crown.
The discussion was “off camera”, but the minutes of that meeting appeared inside a brown paper bag left on the doorstep of the Fry Up offices this morning ... read on.
TC CEO MEETING
Date: Sometime in June, possibly a Thursday
In attendance: 14 CEOs, 1 Minister (part of the time)
CEO 1 – As the CEO of the largest telco.
CEO 2 – Just a quick point of order, largest telco until everything changes.
CEO 1 – I am not at liberty to discuss changes until the shareholders see those changes, which won’t occur without their approval, so I would appreciate it if no one mentions the changes. Or asks me at what address they should send my Christmas card this year.
As I was saying, as CEO of the largest telco I would like to applaud any initiative that will make us a more collusive industry.
CEO 3 – I think you mean collegial.
CEO 1 – Do I, are you sure? I’d Google it on my mobile to check the meaning, but the network is congested.
CEO 2 – Sigh, you too. We’ve sunk the budget into making sure everything works for the Rugby World Cup, so a bit light on bandwidth this month.
CEO 4 – And that is exactly why a third mobile operator is so necessary, as I was telling that fabulous individual the commissioner, just the other day...
CEO 2 – Is that when you mentioned your new on-net pricing plans for small businesses?
CEO 4 – It’s because of the outrageous behaviour of the monopoly providers that we have been forced to mimic them in our new plans.
CEO 3 – When is the Minister getting here? I’ve been wanting to talk to him for months and months, but every time I phone I get put on hold.
CEO 2 - Parliament is probably using the same off-shored call centre as you do. We’ve brought our call centre operation back to New Zealand. Apparently it was located in a politically unstable country half way across the world.
CEO 1 – So this new COLLEGIAL approach, what can we agree on, before the Minister comes in?
CEO 1 – Come on, there are 14 of us here, doesn’t someone have anything they’d like to raise that we can discuss together and then agree on.
CEO 1 – Anyone?
CEO 1 – Speak up.
CEO 1 – I can’t hear you....
End of meeting following a five minute silence. A paragraph at the bottom of the minutes notes that a Minister of the Crown arrived and morning tea was served with neenish tarts and melting moments.
Next week TUANZ hosts its annual Telecommunications Innovation Awards in Auckland, a highlight of the tech calendar. It's unlikely to give out a gong for the best use of a telephone exchange in a movie, but if they ever do call for entries in this category, FRY UP would nominate 3 Days of Condor, released in 1975 and directed by Sydney Pollack.