Telecom has been taking health sector bosses sailing.
At least one district health board chief executive was among guests on a charter trip to watch the penultimate Louis Vuitton Cup race on January 17, as well as several other health sector figures.
The health sector was also well represented when Telecom took another group out sailing late last year.
Should that be taken as targeting of the health sector by the country’s biggest voice and data services provider? Not necessarily, Telecom spokesman Andrew Bristol says.
“The people on the boat all had established relationships with Telecom.”
However, Australian telcomms analyst Paul Budde says it’s no secret that the health sector is a happy hunting ground for telcos, especially incumbents like Telecom.
“In the past 10 years the health sector has doubled in size and in the next 10 it will double again. On average, it makes up 5% to 8% of a country’s GDP; it’s a huge industry and in order to cope with the increase, far more efficient and effective technology will be necessary.”
Because the health sector is growing so fast, “there’s enormous pressure on it to be efficient and telecomms is a huge factor in that area. That’s why telcos are so eager to talk to medical people.”
Because healthcare must be provided nationwide, incumbent telcos have a natural advantage, Budde says.
“They’re in a better position because, typically, the applications needed are nationwide, such as national databases and virtual private networks based on broadband between hospitals, allowing small centres access to the facilities of larger hospitals.
“It’s easier for an incumbent to tap into that market than a second player.”
Telecom spokesperson Allanah James says the health sector is “a major focus” for Telecom.
The carrier has a team of 90 dedicated to the health sector and “a multi-million dollar investment in supporting and developing telecommunications for a wide range of government and non-government health providers”.