The New Zealand Telecommunications Industry Organisation (NZTIO) has accused Telecom of abusing its dominant position in the market after Telecom threatened to withhold calling party telephone numbers from Clear.
The threat is part of a wider battle which is currently before the courts. In a recent Court of Appeal decision Clear has been given the right to withhold certain payments until a substantive interconnection dispute is judged.
NZTIO chairman Peter Stiffe says: “This behaviour is just another example of the tactics Telecom will employ to protect its hold over the market.”
Telecom’s threat to withhold originating number identifications would affect Clear’s ability to collate, among other things, customers’ bills. The calling party number component of each call is essential for modern networks, allowing operators to properly bill for calls, supervise their networks and provide value-added services to their customers.
“The NZTIO does not wish to become embroiled in a commercial dispute between Clear and Telecom, but cannot remain silent in the face of such a blatant case of the dominant player in the market using its power to refuse to supply service and deal with a competitor.
“The NZTIO believes this is anti-competitive and damaging to our industry. We cannot allow a market to be controlled by one player. That has grave implications for investment and serious repercussions for consumers.”
Clear spokeswoman Anna Radford says Telecom is using bully-boy tactics. “We’re hoping that they will see sense. This whole issue strikes at the heart of a competitive tele-communications industry in New Zealand.”
Radford says Clear is not concerned that it is in debt to Telecom. “We don’t believe we owe them anything.”