INDEPENDENT NEWS

CLEAR Seeks Commerce Commission Intervention

Published: Thu 2 Aug 2001 03:53 PM
CLEAR Seeks Commerce Commission Intervention To Halt Quarter Million Dollar Monthly Costs Created By Telecom Refusal
CLEAR Communications is seeking Commerce Commission intervention to force Telecom to comply with WorldxChange’s request to switch WorldxChange's traffic from Telecom’s network to CLEAR’s network. Each month Telecom stalls, CLEAR loses up to a quarter million dollars of revenue while around 40,000 WorldxChange customers miss out on more competitive pricing.
CLEAR’s Executive General Manager Corporate Affairs, Kevin Millar, says Telecom’s refusal to switch WorldxChange calls to CLEAR’s network is a classic example of how Telecom uses its monopoly power to prevent competition.
“Telecom is refusing to discuss this matter commercially. Noting the substantial and on-going harm this situation is having on WorldxChange’s customers, WorldxChange and CLEAR itself, CLEAR has formally asked the Commerce Commission to stop a serious and ongoing breach of the Commerce Act by Telecom,” he said.
WorldxChange wants to access lower charges by using CLEAR’s network and then pass the savings on to customers. Telecom is saying WorldxChange should disrupt its retail business by asking customers to change the numbers they dial to use CLEAR’s network.
Mr Millar said, “There’s no possible reason for Telecom not to do what they’ve been asked other than to stop WorldxChange and CLEAR competing. Telecom recently actioned transactions of this type for two smaller Telco companies so why won’t they do it for WorldxChange? In our view it’s a blatant Commerce Act breach.”
Both WorldxChange and CLEAR have tried to solve this commercially and once again have found it’s very difficult to achieve a reasonable outcome when negotiating with a monopoly. Telecom has no contractual right to prevent WorldxChange from choosing another network to carry its calls and there’s no requirement or need to alter customer dialling.
“Unfortunately, we were unable to achieve a balanced commercial outcome despite our best efforts to solve this reasonably. That’s completely unacceptable in today’s environment where competition and consumer choice must be encouraged if New Zealand telecommunications is to keep pace with the rest of the world,” said Mr Millar.
This is one of a series of recent refusals from Telecom to negotiate fair access to enable greater competition. New Zealand customers are losing out at the time when we are grappling as a nation with how to provide better access to the online knowledge economy.
ENDS

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