Despite the marketing hype Telecom's XT network was not ready to handle the large traffic volumes when it went live, says a review by an international consultancy group.

A nine-page report by UK-based Analysys Mason details the internal and network failures that compounded to create a series of serious outages affecting customers south of Taupo between December and February.

Commissioned in February to review the design, build and operation of the XT network as at January 29, Analysys Mason said at the time the XT network and supporting operations were not ready to effectively handle the large amounts of traffic the network experienced as customers switched over.

It described the radio network controller (RNC) in Christchurch, a key element of the network, as the weakest link.

Analysys Mason said issues relating to the failure of the Christchurch RNC were not quickly identified and rectified due to "immature" network management systems.

Speaking at the company's third quarter results briefing Telecom chief executive Paul Reynolds said the findings of the report were "sobering but it's heartening as well, in the sense that there's some very clear lessons for us and (network builder) Alcatel-Lucent to fix, and we fixed them".

"We have deep experience between us in managing our CDMA network and other networks, but what we found was the operational processes that were in place for managing those were not sufficient in the early stages of deployment like XT," said Reynolds.

He said the number of customers added to the network was within forecasts but the actual management of those customers was where the issue lay.

"3G networks behave in a different way to CDMA and we had to learn in detail how to programme the capacity to meet those geographical, time-of-day and service-based peaks and troughs of demand," Reynolds said.

He said many of the issues had been addressed including the addition of 27 new mobile sites and 115 tower-mounted amplifiers. They have also added two RNCs to the existing two, with another four to be added by June next year.

Apportioning blame between Telecom and Alcatel-Lucent was outside the brief of the review.

Asked how much responsibility he could personally take for the outages Reynolds replied that he took "full responsibility for Telecom's operations in totality, including XT".

Forsyth Barr analyst Guy Hallwright said it was not possible to tell from the report findings which criticisms were directed at network partner Alcatel-Lucent or Telecom.

"I would actually suspect it was more Alcatel-Lucent than Telecom personally, just because even though Telecom would have had control of the budgets, lots of the design would have been done by Alcatel, you would imagine, and certainly a lot of the implementation would have been done by them. But there may well be problems on the Telecom side."

Both companies have new staff in senior roles.

Steve Lowe stepped down as Alcatel-Lucent's New Zealand head and was replaced by Jyoti Mahurkar-Thombre.

At Telecom, group chief transformation officer Frank Mount resigned in February with chief information officer David Havercroft taking on some of the his responsibilities.

Despite 128,000 people moving to XT, total mobile connections with Telecom were down 19,000 in the last quarter, primarily low-value pre-paid connections said Reynolds.

He said Telecom's share of mobile revenues was stable at 39 per cent - unchanged since the arrival of 2degrees.

The company plan to revive its marketing programme which has been in a hiatus since the string of outages.

FIVE KEY FINDINGS
* The network failed because the network and supporting operations were not ready to manage the levels of traffic it experienced.

* As yet unidentified software issues contributed to network stability.

* The initial configuration of the network lead to variability in the coverage it offered.

* Some aspects of the network architecture were overly complex making faults hard to find and fix.

* Operational processes and systems were more appropriate for a well-established, rather than new, network.