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Current as of 17/09/14 11:20AM NZST

New XT head says customers understand

By Helen Twose

Kieren Cooney. Photo / Steven McNicholl
Kieren Cooney. Photo / Steven McNicholl

Telecom's incoming head of mobile says business customers have cut the company some slack after a series of failures on the XT network.

Kieren Cooney, who was yesterday given the nod to replace Paul Hamburger, said customers who depended on technology had been understanding about the XT outages.

Cooney, 37, will be accountable for all of Telecom's mobile products and services. The former Vodafone executive will be responsible for setting out the overall strategy for mobile services, nailing deals with device manufacturers and content providers and setting up roaming deals.

Cooney said he has got to know Telecom over the past four years - he is chief executive of Telecom retail partner Leading Edge.

"I believe they are fundamentally really well placed, notwithstanding some clear challenges."

He said he would make sure the mobile business was on the front foot and acting like a market leader.

"If I look at our own customers we've lost very few because they've really looked at it from the perspective of a long-term view," said Cooney.

"I think when you're making decisions around things like your communications, you're looking at it from a multi-year perspective. Whether you're a teenager on prepay or you're a corporate kitting out your entire business, you'll be looking at this saying 'I'm probably going to be having a relationship with this business for some years'.

"There's a burden to that because you want to get that right. But the advantage to it is people take their decision very seriously and so I don't think they look at interim, individual instances as colouring [the decision] as much as sometimes we'd imagine."

Cooney's appointment comes less than a month after Telecom's globetrotting Hamburger said he would quit at the end of his contract. Hamburger - who split his time between New Zealand and a family home in Florida - will finish up at Telecom in July, overlapping with Cooney's start date in June. A Grey Lynn resident, Cooney will not have as far to commute from home to Telecom's central Auckland offices.

Telecom's retail chief executive Alan Gourdie said Cooney had been working alongside the mobile and retail teams for some time.

"His knowledge of the New Zealand mobile market and understanding of the competitive landscape make Kieren an excellent addition to the retail organisation," said Gourdie.

From 2001 until 2006, Cooney was with Vodafone overseeing the launch of the VodafoneLive portal and the 3G network upgrade marketing campaigns.

- NZ Herald

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