Telecom Moves To Protect Phone Customers
Telecom today said it has taken action to turn off 0867 access to some CallPlus associated companies to protect phone calling on the Telecom network.
“It should be no surprise for these companies,” General Manager Industry and Government Relations Bruce Parkes said.
“Telecom has been talking with CallPlus and associated companies since September. In at least five separate letters Telecom told CallPlus that 0867 numbers could not be diverted to another carrier’s access lines in breach of the agreement the two companies had.”
Mr Parkes said Telecom introduced 0867 so it could continue to provide free local Internet calling, but still ensure the network is protected. “However by adding in all of this call forwarding, these companies are increasing the risk of problems for customers on the phone network.”
He said CallPlus and i4free’s underhand call forwarding arrangement with Clear is simply designed to step around the network safety protections of 0867 so they can get paid by Clear for their customers staying on line.
“The other 80 Internet companies that have signed up to 0867 in good faith are finding it a good solution that works well for them. There have already been network emergencies where 0867 has prevented a situation where the network may have become overloaded and customers would not have been able to make voice calls.”
Mr Parkes said all Internet companies including Telecom-owned Xtra are being treated the same. He also criticised Clear for acting irresponsibly.
“It is paying these free Internet companies, from the money it gets from Telecom, to shift Internet calls around our network in a complicated way which completely negates the network management benefits of 0867.
“It is irresponsible behaviour, in a country where there is free local calling, for Clear to pay its customers to generate traffic in this way – especially when the lack of network management puts other customers’ calling at risk.
Clear and CallPlus are making no secret of their scheme. A letter from Call Plus to Telecom said: “By preventing CallPlus from diverting calls to Clear’s network, CallPlus would be precluded from obtaining revenue from Clear…”
“Telecom forwards millions and millions of calls to Clear every year. We are also happy to send Internet traffic to Clear, providing we are able to manage that traffic responsibly for the protection of all customers and that means using 0867 in the way it was designed,” Mr Parkes said.
Mr Parkes said 0867 was necessary because more than half of all residential phone calling now are Internet calls. “We need to design a way to manage Internet calls so that voice calls can still get through.”