Fairfax NZ has shifted its voice, managed internet and part of its mobile services from Telecom to TelstraClear, in a move operations manager Brian Ashton says had nothing to do with synergies between Fairfax's NZ and Australian operations.
"It was an independent decision — Fairfax Australia wasn't involved," he says.
The three-year, $7 million deal comes on the heels of a four-year, $A40 million contract signed by Fairfax Australia and Telstra last month for voice, data, mobile and internet services and an upgrade to an IP network.
Ashton says the New Zealand deal was restricted to voice, managed internet and mobile because "our data network is an older frame relay one which has grown organically and is quite complex.
"Changing to another service provider would be quite high-risk, but we considered voice, managed internet and some mobile to be lower risk."
TelstraClear was invited to pitch for all services, he says, but the decision was made to leave data with Telecom because Fairfax NZ is planning to migrate the data network to IP "and if we were moving providers, I'd rather do it when we're more stable."
The mobile aspect of the deal involves using TelstraClear as a reseller of Vodafone.
The bulk of Fairfax's mobile service will continue to be with Telecom, but a desire to allow Vodafone users who join Fairfax to continue using Vodafone and not to deal with number portability issues surrounding Vodafone-to-Telecom transfers means TelstraClear was selected for the remainder of the mobile business, Ashton says.
He says Fairfax NZ isn't overly concerned about TelstraClear's recent experience at the Corrections Department, which awarded a contract to TelstraClear then switched back to Telecom after TelstraClear apparently failed to meet contract deadlines.
"You have to assume the risk of changing service providers," he says.