Key Points:

Telecom has poached top Vodafone executive Craig Herbison to lead its retail branding push as it prepares its new 3G mobile phone network.

Telecom retail division boss Alan Gourdie has appointed Herbison general manager of marketing and branding, matching a similar marketing and communication role he had at Vodafone overseeing both Australia and New Zealand.

He is expected to establish a new brand name for the 3G network.

Hiring Herbison is part of a big marketing push in advance of the new network and to pull back Vodafone's lead in the mobile market.

But Gourdie also has to squeeze better market share for broadband services and Vodafone incursions into its fixed-line business,

The 3G network - allowing better internet access and interactivity - will allow Telecom to increase its average revenue per user.

Telecom has to make more money out of its mobile operation. That is partly because the present system is on an obsolete CDMA network with poor technology.

But marketing has also been a problem - with Telecom's marketing department lagging behind the global expertise at Vodafone.

The shift from the expanding multinational to the struggling standalone Telecom will be a major change of culture for Herbison.

Before the transtasman brand and communications role, Herbison was a former general brand and communications manager for Vodafone New Zealand in Auckland.

So he will have a good grounding in the business plans of Vodafone New Zealand as well as Vodafone's strategy in this country.

Herbison has a background in advertising.

Before joining Vodafone he was executive director of STW Group in Sydney which has an interest in some New Zealand ad agencies.

In the United Kingdom he worked at WPP London and creative agency TBWA/GGT where he led activity for clients that included Vodafone.

Herbison joins Telecom at the start of April but left Vodafone last month when he announced his move.