ISP Voyager takes business from Clear to Telecom

Clear Communications has given its version of its divorce with nationwide Internet provider Voyager and the two accounts could hardly be more different.

Voyager announced on Wednesday that all its data services accounts would be moving to Telecom and Telstra, cutting short a three-year agreement with Clear.

In a statement, Voyager head John O'Hara said the move had come at Clear's request, but that it been "under consideration for some time" because of difficulties in the relationship with Clear. He claimed that attitudes had changed in early November, "when Clear decided to enter the market and compete directly against us".

Clear's communications manager, Janiene Bayliss, released a statement the following day, saying Clear had suggested the split "because Voyager has had difficulty meeting their commitments ... this has nothing to do with Clear launching its own ISP. Voyager knew we would be doing this long before the difficulties arose. We have several other ISP customers and we continue to enjoy a very good relationship with them."

O'Hara declined to elaborate on his statements, but Bayliss confirmed to @IDG that the commitments Voyager was failing to meet were financial ones.

"It's delicate, but yes, that is the case," she says. "We regret John O'Hara had to go public in such a vitriolic way, and I think it might have been better for him if he had made the change more quietly. He's already had a terrible barney with Telecom.

"We've given Voyager a lot of time to migrate over, till the end of the month. We don't bear John any ill-will and it wouldn't have been in our interest to pull the plug."

The break also comes on top of rumours that Clear was becoming unhappy with the four cents a minute charging regime it had agreed with Voyager, and that Voyager had got its own sums wrong and had spent too much on marketing. Telecom had originally quoted for Voyager's accounts but could not match Clear's price.

Under the new contracts, Telecom will supply regional telehousing, 0800 access, voice services and Voyager's domestic data backbone. Telstra will supply an external Internet gateway. O'Hara's statement concedes the "irony" of his business moving to Telecom, which was recently the subject of a complaint by Voyager to the Commerce Commission. He says, however, that he has received "satisfactory assurances" that Telecom's planned online service will not result in loss of service to Voyager.

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