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Telecom NZ dodges Vodafone wrath

Delays network launch, hands back spat dummy

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Telecom NZ will launch its XT network, but not until the end of the month as it agrees to fit more filters to prevent interfering with Vodafone NZ's existing service.

On Friday Vodafone NZ attempted to get an injunction to prevent Telecom NZ's launch, claiming unacceptable levels of interference, in an action on which Justice Geoffery Venning was due to rule yesterday. Instead the good justice told the companies to "sort it out" between themselves, something they have now managed to do with a two-week delay on the XT launch during which Telecom NZ have agreed to fit more filters to prevent signal leakage.

Some, such as Telecom NZ's CEO Paul Reynolds, see the whole thing as “a piece of nonsense from start to finish”, and "a sign of desperation from a global giant", while others describe it as Vodafone's desperate attempt to prevent the former monopoly crushing their network by deliberately failing to filter properly in their rush to get XT launched.

Vodafone and Telecom run a virtual duopoly in New Zealand, with Vodafone historically playing the young upstart challenging the incumbent, despite now being the larger partner in terms of mobile connections. It's been suggested that this case could turn that around, along with Telecom's use of Richard Hammond to promote their "XT" network, but in reality there seem to be few winners.

Fitting more filters will reduce XT's coverage, but Telecom NZ has said it will do so where Vodafone requires it, to prevent their 850MHz UMTS (W-CDMA) network spilling over into the 2G service Vodafone operates at 900MHz. ®

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