Optus takes toll on Telecom NZ

Telecom New Zealand's relationship with Toll Holdings in New Zealand is unaffected by Toll's switch to Optus in Australia, Telecom spokesman Phil Love says.

"Telecom has retained its whole-of-business contract with Toll NZ."

Earlier this month, Toll's Australian parent signed a four-year deal encompassing voice, data and mobile with Optus.

Previously, Telecom's Australian subsidiary, AAPT, held most of Toll's telecoms business, with Optus providing some mobile and voice services.

Love says Telecom has been aware "for quite some time" that the corporate telecoms market in Australia is "very difficult" and AAPT is focusing on small to medium-sized businesses.

There will be a 3 to 5 month transition while AAPT hands over the Toll Australia business to Optus, he says.

The jewel in AAPT's crown -- a five-year deal signed with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in 2000 -- is currently being renegotiated. Last year AAPT lost an EFTPOS (electronic fund transfer at point of sale) services contract with the bank to Optus, although that business was separate from the main contract with the bank.

At the time, AAPT spokesman Andrew Bristol told Computerworld changes are likely in the contract. "The dynamics of the sector have changed since the deal was signed and it's been reported that the bank is unlikely to renegotiate another whole-of-business contract," he said.

"We're working with the bank to assess how we can best continue to work with them."

Love declined to discuss the Commonwealth Bank deal, saying it's "a little bit early" to talk about it yet.

The Commonwealth Bank deal was originally negotiated by Telecom under the TNZA (Telecom New Zealand Australia) brand, but Telecom has since grouped all its Australian operations under the AAPT banner.

Toll chief executive Paul Little declined to comment.

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