The postponement of the TSO (Telecommunications Service Obligation) conference to provide extra time for Telecom and Vodafone preparations, has “disappointed” Tuanz, says chief executive Ernie Newman.
The conference will now be held on July 8 and 10-12, more than a month after the originally scheduled date. The new deadline for submissions is June 10.
“We thought [Telecommunications commissioner Douglas Webb and the Commerce Commission] should not extend the deadline”, Newman says. Tuanz suggested at an May 9 meeting to discuss the postponement that the two telcos had ample resources to ready their case in time for the original deadline. The fact that TelstraClear had not asked for a postponement lends weight to this belief, Newman says.
Tuanz believes it will be difficult to compress the schedule before the eventual decision on the terms of the TSO, so every day the meeting was postponed will be a day longer that New Zealand telecommunications users have to wait for a truly competitive environment, Newman says.
Telecom and Vodafone had said they were unlikely to meet the deadline for their submissions on two crucial papers that the commission was assembling for the conference, on benchmarking and “TSO (cornerstone and implementation)” issues.
“The resulting delay in publishing these submissions may lead to procedural difficulties”, the Commerce Commission said when requesting the Friday meeting. “In particular, time may not be available to allow fair consideration by the commission and interested parties before the planned TSO Conference.”
Telecom spokesperson Mary Parker says the matters to be discussed are “complex and require a quality decision.” A postponement will mean a more complete submission can be drawn up, “and this will ensure people are better informed.
“The importance and weight of the decision meant we really didn’t want to do a rush job”, she says.
Vodafone's submission had seen other complications, says its government relations manager, Roger Ellis. It had assumed that submissions on the first, "cornerstone" paper would be taken into account before the second, "implementation", paper was published. Then just before the deadline for submissions on the first paper, the second emerged. Vodafone thought it would be better to comment on both papers together, so backed Telecom's call for a postponement, he says.
Vodafone believes a more considered deliberation will be to the benefit of the user in the long run, says Ellis.