Vodafone chief executive Russell Stanners has sharply rebutted claims by TelstraClear that a "deliberate last-minute change" to roaming arrangement by his company forced the closure of a wireless network pilot in Tauranga. TelstraClear Chief Executive Allan Freeth said earlier today an eleventh hour change to roaming arrangements forced the company to halt its pilot project. “We had a national roaming agreement and an additional agreement to make the changes that would allow us to deliver Unplugged. We proceeded on that basis,” Freeth said. “We even provided a joint statement to the Commerce Commission setting out that we had agreed the changes necessary for Unplugged to launch,” he said. Freeth said the pilot network had been on track for a July launch to deliver a mobile/broadband service to homes and businesses in Tauranga but Vodafone’s late change forced TelstraClear into an "untenable position". However, Stanners this evening responded saying nothing has changed in the agreement Vodafone signed with TelstaClear to provide mobile roaming.
“Vodafone is struggling to understand why TelstraClear has suddenly decided the agreement is unsatisfactory and why there has been no direct communication between the companies prior to this public attack. It was signed on March 15 and until late last week Vodafone was working closely with TelstraClear at a technical implementation level to deliver the service,” he says.
Vodafone says it can only speculate there are other reasons for TelstraClear’s decision which the company is seeking to mask by blaming an innocent party.
“This is not the first time that TelstraClear has pulled out of investment and blamed other players in the market,” Stanners says. Freeth says TelstraClear will now focus its investment on its fixed line business and investigating opportunities created by the unbundled local loop.