Major telcos commit to voluntary industry forum

  • Paul Swain
Communications and Information Technology

Five key telecommunications organisations in New Zealand have collectively pledged their commitment to establishing a voluntary telecommunications industry forum.

Communications Minister Paul Swain says the establishment of an industry forum for the telecommunications sector was recommended by the Ministerial Inquiry into Telecommunications, which reported back to him in September last year.

"The government agreed in December that an industry forum would be valuable, but that the forum and its membership should be voluntary," he said.

"In December, Cabinet invited me to invite the industry to set up a forum.

"Telecom, Vodafone, TelstraSaturn and CLEAR, along with the Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand, expressed an initial commitment to the notion of a forum to me in one-on-one meetings last year.

"I have taken the initial step of asking these organisations to formalise their earlier commitment. Following a meeting of these organisations with me, they have resolved to hold an industry workshop in the near future to progress the establishment of the forum.

"I have an expectation that the forum, once established, will have a wider industry membership.

The forum's general role will be to develop codes and resolve industry issues. While the forum and its membership will be voluntary, the existence of a forum will be recognised in the new telecommunications legislation.

"I am also very pleased to note that telecommunications companies that are parties to the Number Administration Deed (NAD) agreed today to proceed with an expert study on the net economic benefits of long term number portability in New Zealand, and agreed on how the study will be paid for.

"The NAD parties will now seek to finalise the contract with the preferred consultant.

"This will enable quality information to be available to the new Telecommunications Commissioner to resolve number portability disputes if there is no industry agreement."