What did you make of Paul Reynolds' apology? Was the company's compensation offer enough?
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Faced with four network failures in two months which have already seen two managers lose their jobs, Telecom chief executive Paul Reynolds is determined he won't be the third.
Dr Reynolds today faced up to the public to say "enough is enough" after the XT mobile network south of Taupo went down again yesterday evening.
The outage angered customers and resulted in one person being unable to make a 111 call to report an assault in Christchurch.
Telecom said today it had put its XT Network technology partner Alcatel on notice, that it was not delivering the world-class network as it expected.
Dr Reynolds also announced a compensation credit package to personal and business customers south of Taupo worth $10 million.
The four network failures since December 14 have already led to the resignations of Telecom's chief transformation officer Frank Mount, and Alcatel-Lucent's New Zealand head Steve Lowe.
But Dr Reynolds said he was determined he wouldn't be the next victim of the failures.
"I'm determined to get this fixed. I feel let down," he said.
"I feel like as CEO I'm here for the tough times, to lead this organisation through those tough times and get the right outcome for our customers."
When asked if he would resign if there were more problems, he said he wasn't looking for more problems but looking to fix the ones that existed.
Dr Reynolds said Telecom hadn't cut corners when installing the network, saying some analysts thought it had been a costly plan at the time.
He said Alcatel had been put on notice but that there was every reason to expect it could fix the problem as it had operated similar networks in the United States and France.
"This works well in the rest of the world, we want to know why it doesn't in New Zealand."
Telecom was also putting some of its staff into closer contact with Alcatel to ensure an improved service.
It said all four failures were caused by different problems, though two were following operational processes.
However, all had happened at the Christchurch radio network controller, and there were questions about whether there was some underlying issue which was leading to the network failures.
"The issue is always, why did it flow on to this sort of impact," Telecom Gen-i chief executive Chris Quin said.
Dr Reynolds said the fact the network hadn't failed for data and text appeared to explain why an XT customer trying to report the Christchurch assault couldn't get a 111 call through.
The caller saw an Asian student beaten and bloodied after the assault by four skinhead youths at a bus stop outside the Palms Mall in Shirley about 6.30pm yesterday.
"Every XT mobile phone has the capability to flick in SOS mode when there is no XT service on to an alternative network," Dr Reynolds.
"But in the instance where there is service, in this case last night there was data and text service, it would not flick over automatically, and that's the case with any mobile network I believe.
"It's what happened to that gentleman last night, but obviously we were very pleased that many other people were able to make the calls to emergency services."
Telecommunications Users of New Zealand chief executive Ernie Newman says Dr Reynolds' apology was the measure he had to take in order to please customers in the short term.
Newman says it is only fair that some of the blame rests upon Alcatel-Lucent for its failure to act, given that they were in partnership.
"They certainly are the technology so they're to blame,"says Newman.
He is calling for a rapid solution to the networks problems, and for Reynolds most recent apology to be his last.
"We've had the apology before, he's obviously discounting very deeply."
Newman expects XT customers will be tracking progress made by Telecom to strengthen the network after the conference this afternoon.
Communications Minister Steven Joyce said it was vital to ensure 111 calls connected.
"The recent spate of outages on the XT network has exposed some shortcomings in this area and officials have been working urgently with Telecom since last evening to address these issues," he said.
Mr Joyce said the Government may need to regulate to ensure that operators prioritised 111 calls in situations where networks become unstable.
"I've asked officials to look into this issue and I expect them to come back to me with a list of options in a short timeframe."
Prime Minister John Key said it was a very serious situation for Telecom as its large customer base had been let down badly four times.
"But hopefully he (Dr Reynolds) will be able to give us a picture of where to from here and what results they are going to achieve in the future."
Telecom's compensation offer is of a 33 per cent credit to personal customers on plans and for prepay top-up for three months, and 50 per cent off access fees to business customers in the same period.
Dr Reynolds said he wasn't aware of many customers abandoning Telecom following the network failures.
- NZPA, NZ HERALD ONLINE