Telstra expects “one of the major fuel companies” in Australia to begin converting all its stores to accept its “red arrow” smartcards next month, and it anticipates that McDonald’s will be one of the first New Zealand companies to accept them.
But the partner it is really waiting for is New Zealand Telecom.
Last year, Telstra New Zealand managing director Peter Williamson revealed that his company was in discussions with Telecom over a reciprocal agreement covering each others’ payphone networks. But Telstra payphones manager Grant Burtenshaw, himself a former Telecom official, says he is still waiting on a response. “They had to prepare a business case for it, but we haven’t had a decision yet,” says Burten-shaw. “Telecom New Zealand, we would love to work with you, but if you don’t we’ll be here anyway.”
Burtenshaw says Telstra is prepared to wait, because, as the dominant issuer of phonecards and operator of payphones, Telecom “has the market — and that’s very difficult to duplicate”.