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Telecom's rivals flooded with inquiries

Vodafone and 2degrees say they are reaping the benefits of Telecom's fault-ridden XT network, claiming to have had surges of interest in their services.

Telecom is playing down the number of people quitting the network after a series of major faults between December and this week which at times have left 220,000 without service and have cost the company $15 million in compensation.

Yesterday, spokesmen for the company said fewer than 500 business customers had left the network and "very, very few" individual customers were leaving.

But Telecom confirmed last night that it was waiving disconnection fees for some customers wanting to opt out of contracts early. It was not specific about which customers could leave the network for nothing, saying only that customers wanting to do so should contact staff to discuss their situation.

Larrie Moore, chief sales and marketing officer for new network 2degrees said call-centre staff usually dealt with about 300 calls.

But, in the 24 hours to 4pm yesterday, there had been a "massive surge" in callers with 3000 queries - mostly from people asking if they could keep their phone number if they bought a 2degrees SIM card to use in their handset.

Mr Moore said about 70 per cent of callers were XT customers.

While he could not reveal sales figures for commercial reasons, he said the company's average sales had quadrupled.

Vodafone spokesman Paul Brislen said the company was seeing "huge demand" from customers in the South Island and the "exit" packages Vodafone was running had been well received.

With a "looking for an easy way out" logo, the deal involves Telecom or XT customers sending in their phone to be given a free phone when they sign up on a 24-month plan.

- NZ Herald

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