The closure of ISP Voyager's consumer arm will force 11,000 users to find connection elsewhere, but parent company MCI WorldCom says corporate customers should look at the move as "good news".
Voyager yesterday announced it plans to close its consumer arm with the loss of an undisclosed number of staff. According to WorldCom communications manager David Bathur, the move is part of a region-wide shift to specialise in the corporate market.
"The decision has been made to specialise in corporate services as part of the overall Asia-Pacific strategy and the whole idea is to drive efficiencies."
He says there will be no change for its corporate customers. "Currently they'll find the same services but what will happen is that since we're now specialising in their area they will find an increased level of service and there will be additional online tools made available."
Bathur says the Voyager staff that work in the corporate side of the business will remain, but wouldn't be drawn on the number of staff laid off until the staff involved had been fully informed.
Voyager changed its structure late in 1999, becoming in effect two separate business entities focussing on corporate and consumer customers. At the time Voyager general manager Bob Davis said Voyager would become a top consumer ISP based on price as well as performance. The company does not offer a flat-rate dial-up service, but charges $30 a month for its KiwiGold account, which includes 300 hours connection per month.
Xtra spokesman Matt Bostwick says Voyager customers who do decide to switch to Xtra will choose which of Xtra's pricing plans they want to switch to. Xtra has signed a deal with Voyager to take over the consumer customer base and will offer Voyager users the opportunity to keep their Voyager email addresses for six months as part of the deal.