TSO Tax, Death of UBS, Phishy money

Another telco heavy week, this one - the TSO conference in Wellington is wrapping up today, with Telecom telling the competition that it wants a substantial subsidy for its 63,000 or so "unprofitable" customers (which it wants to keep nevertheless) for providing "free local calling" in return for a $40/month fee. The competition however, doesn't want to pay the $90 million Telecom is after, or even the $63 million the Commerce Commission thinks they should stump up with.

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- TSO Tax looms

- Death of UBS?

- Laundering phishy money

- TSO Tax looms

Another telco heavy week, this one – the TSO conference in Wellington is wrapping up today, with Telecom telling the competition that it wants a substantial subsidy for its 63,000 or so “unprofitable” customers (which it wants to keep nevertheless) for providing “free local calling” in return for a $40/month fee. The competition however, doesn’t want to pay the $90 million Telecom is after, or even the $63 million the Commerce Commission thinks they should stump up with.

If Telecom’s competition has to pay the TSO Tax, TelstraClear argues that it should be levied on more than just it, Vodafone, Callplus, Compass, WorldXChange, Equant, TeamTalk and Ihug. Other telcos and Internet should also pay their share of the TSO Tax because the Telecommunications Act of 2001 makes the liable for it, according to TelstraClear.

Counties Power/Wired Country went even further and says the Telco Act makes every large company in New Zealand, as well as Crown organisations – anyone that connects to the telephone network basically – liable to pay the TSO Tax.

We’ll have a summary of the TSO conference next week. Stay tuned to find out who’ll pay.

- TelstraClear wants cost of levy spread

- Death of UBS?

There is good news for New Zealand broadband customers this week: Telecom will make flat-rate DSL plans with 256, 1Mbit/s and 2Mbit/s download speeds available in exactly a month’s time. I’m grizzling about the low upstream speed – 128-192kbit/s depending on the plan – and the meagre 1-10GB allowance before the connection throttles down to 64kbit/s. Oh, and I don’t think you can get static IP addresses either.

But nevertheless, that’s a good deal better than UBS, and for a similar price. The cheapest 256/128kbit/s plan is $29.95 if you put your calls through Telecom, and the 2M/192kbit/s plan is $59.95 a month. Add the usual $10 for the ISP, and you’d have to wonder why anyone would bother with USB? Orcon for instance says it’ll charge $49.95 - $59.95 for its UBS plans, and the recently released CallPlus Jetbuster Express Unlimited Flat Rate plan is $59.95. Note that there is no $100 churn fee slapped on customers switching providers, unlike UBS.

We’ve talked to ISPs about the new plans, and in brief, they say it means UBS has been a big waste of everyone’s time and money. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to disagree with that conclusion.

- Faster flat-rate Telecom DSL plans launched

- Commission monitoring broadband uptake

- Laundering phishy money

Readers are reporting an upsurge in “job offer” spam recently, forged to make it appear as if it was sent from a pukka jobs site. It wasn’t: it’s phishers wanting to empty bank accounts they’ve compromised in the region with your help.

This time around the phishers pretend to be a TV manufacturer called the Plasma Project, replete with a nice Web site that has well-known company logos and everything. You agree to receive money into your account, and transfer the dosh elsewhere, minus a 5% commission.

Don’t do it. It’s illegal and if you’re found out, it’s criminal charges and no money for you.

- Codephish anti-scam/anti-phishing site

- NZ Police warns about the employment scams in April this year

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