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Telecom To Exchange Phonecards

Telecom will exchange magnetic strip cards for special chip PhoneCards for customers with unused value in their magnetic cards.

General Manager Consumer Rob Fyfe said today the free replacement option coincides with the rollout of Telecom's new $20 million Payphone network, starting later this month.

"We always anticipated that most cards would be used up by the time the new phones started to be rolled out. In reality, over the last 12 months PhoneCard usage has been at a level of 95% of the value of cards sold within the same period. The majority of PhoneCards are typically soon used after purchase.

"We have however also been closely monitoring customer feedback over the past few months and we are mindful that some customers are concerned they will not have used the value in their cards by the time the old network is removed. We are responding to their concerns with this replacement option.

"The exchange option means that they will get a special chip PhoneCard with the same value as the remaining credit on the old card."

Mr Fyfe said customers could get special replacement cards by sending in their magnetic strip cards with a form available at NZ Post retail outlets and Shell Service Stations (see attachment) from 19 August. The purpose of the forms and replacement process is to ensure customers receive the remaining value of their cards.

Telecom announced its plans to launch the new network in January, which provided up to 11 months' notice to Payphone users. The network/payphone changeover will occur over a couple of months and cardholders will have the option to keep their magnetic strip cards or swap out with replacement cards until the end of the year.

"We will of course continue to offer calling specials such as half priced calls until the changeover is completed. Telecom research that indicated that the majority of customers used their PhoneCards within six months of purchase has proved correct. In fact a lot of people use their cards within a few weeks, so the calling specials are delivering extra value for many of our customers.

"These options are designed to ensure every customer has the opportunity to either use up their card or exchange it."

Mr Fyfe said Telecom will shortly be announcing more details about the rollout of its new and enlarged payphone network that will provide New Zealanders with the latest technology and a range of new features.

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