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HissyFitWatch: Telecom New Zealand’s XT 3G Network Collapses – “Biggest Telco Cock-Up In the World”

Phillip Dampier March 25, 2010 HissyFitWatch, Public Policy & Gov't, Telecom New Zealand, Video, Wireless Broadband No Comments

When the 60 Minutes franchise shows up to run a 15 minute story on your corporate crisis, you know you’re finished.

The scene: Telecom New Zealand’s heavily-marketed XT mobile broadband 3G network has collapsed for the fourth time since December, leaving hundreds of thousands of customers without service, government ministers apoplectic about ongoing service problems, and now resignations among senior Telecom officials falling on their swords for endless technical faults that bring excuses and promises of better service that never quite come true.

One Telecom solution: Video their customer service center’s employees trying to cope with a telecommunications crisis in the country in hopes the carefully edited footage, made available to the media, would humanize the company’s own incompetence.  It didn’t work as Telecom New Zealand’s 3G customers rushed for the nearest exits, canceling service and demanding no fee be charged for doing so.

To add insult to injury, after four network crashes, Telecom’s administration of the country’s emergency help line 111 (equivalent to 911 in North America) revealed lapses there as well, when the line suddenly stopped working for several hours.  The problem was discovered not when a Telecom technician discovered it, but rather when a police officer found it strange there were no calls to respond to and called the number himself to test it, finding no response.

[flv width=”640″ height=”372″]http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/TV New Zealand 60 Minutes – Telecom XT.flv[/flv]

60 Minutes aired Telecom’s dirty laundry and pressured Telecom’s CEO to respond to exasperated customers often left without service for days. He blamed Alcatel-Lucent for the problems.  Paul Hamburger, mentioned in this report, resigned earlier today. (15 minutes)

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