With the Telecommunications Commissioner's draft decision on unbundling only a week away, industry speculation as to the final outcome is rife.
Australian telco analyst Paul Budde says he would be very surprised if commissioner Douglas Webb did not order unbundling of the loop.
"It would go against the tide of world opinion and I would find it very strange if he did not introduce unbundling."
Budde, a long time proponent of unbundling, says Webb has proven himself to be both "canny" and "creative" in his decisions and he expects to see something equally inventive next Friday when the draft ruling is released.
"Webb clearly means business and hopefully he's not being pressured by government or by Telecom too much."
The chief executive of the Telecommunications Users Association (TUANZ), Ernie Newman, was reluctant to second guess the commissioner's report, but when pressed says he also believes the report will recommend unbundling.
"I would believe he's capable of producing a creative solution that might just please a number of the parties involved."
Newman says he thinks a hybrid solution is on the cards.
"A mix of unbundling and wholesaling that would address some of the problems we've seen with unbundling overseas." Newman says importing a solution "off the shelf" from another country just isn't reasonable.
"It's got to be a Kiwi solution for a Kiwi problem."
Budde hopes the solution won't be a hybrid one, however.
"A hybrid solution is terribly messy and means more work for the lawyers and regulators. I would hope for something more straightforward than that."
Budde does warn that any unbundling solution won't be a silver bullet to pricing concerns within the industry.
"It's not an overnight process. It won't make Telecom lose market share or stock market points or anything like that. Telecom is a very rational company these days and I think they realise that unbundling isn't going to be the major disaster they may have expected before."
After the commissioner's draft decision on Friday, a final report will be presented to government before the year's end. The government will then consider the proposal and is expected to act quickly on the recommendations.