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Payphone Access Charge Planned

Payphone Access Charge Planned


Telecom is to follow the international practice of applying a surcharge to providers of toll-free and calling card services when calls to these services are made from Telecom payphones.

More than two-thirds of all calls made on payphones are now calls to toll-free numbers or calls made using calling cards and they make little or no contribution to the cost of maintaining the payphone network.

“The number of those calls made on payphones has been growing sharply in recent years, contributing to the situation where the payphone network’s costs have run ahead of revenues for some time,” National Manager Payphones Sheridan Broadbent said.

“Telecom’s payphone network includes more than 5000 payphones in cities, towns and communities throughout New Zealand,” Ms Broadbent said.

“We want to ensure that New Zealanders continue to have access to a widespread and well maintained national payphone network service from Cape Reinga to the Bluff both now and into the future.

“We looked at how other countries have addressed this issue and have decided that a surcharge to the providers of these toll-free and calling card services will be the best way to ensure that all providers are contributing fairly to the cost of operating and maintaining the payphone network,” Ms Broadbent said.

The surcharge will be introduced in April next year. As a provider of toll-free and calling card services, Telecom plans to pass the costs on to its users of these services.

“Telecom will not apply the surcharge to the many not-for-profit organisations which we support through our Voluntary Welfare Organisation Scheme.

“Some of those welfare groups rely heavily on toll-free numbers to stay in touch with the people who use their services and we are committed to helping them.

“And of course it won’t apply to 111 calls,” Ms Broadbent said.

Similar payphone access charges are in place in countries including the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States, France, Germany, Norway, Canada and Singapore.

Telecom is currently communicating with other carriers and calling card service providers about the surcharge.

Early in the new year it will notify its retail prices to customers offering toll free numbers and callers using its calling cards from payphones.

Telecom will be giving all affected providers plenty of notice to allow them to plan the implementation of the surcharge.


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