Telecom's goodwill gesture in the wake of last week's
broadband outages has drawn criticism from customers who
already get free national calls.
The company said it would offer free landline to landline
calls within New Zealand on Christmas Day following
widespread broadband outages over two days last week.
The faults left hundreds of thousands of customers without
internet access for up to 19 hours on Tuesday and Wednesday,
less than a fortnight after an unrelated broadband outage
late last month.
Telecom said the free calls on Christmas Day would be
available to all fixed-line customers, not just those
affected by the broadband outages.
Retail chief executive Chris Quin said the company wanted to
show customers it understood how frustrating the outages had
"This is our way of saying 'we're sorry, we know how
important it is to you to stay connected, and we want to make
it that much easier for you to connect with family and
friends this Christmas'."
Mr Quin said it was a meaningful gesture for home broadband
customers, all of whom had a Telecom fixed line phone service
But the gesture has drawn criticism from Telecom customers
who already get free national landline calls as part of their
phone contract - about 15 per cent of the company's broadband
Many of the almost 900 comments on Telecom's Facebook page
have been dismissive of the offer.
Palmerston North woman Raewyn McBain said it gave her "sweet
nothing" and a credit to her account would have been better.
Christchurch man Noel Turner said his local calls to family
would have been free anyway, and the apology was empty.
"Was this 'apology' worked out by the same idiot who f'd up
the system in the first place?"
Catherine Champion of Dunedin said Christmas was a time when
many people would be with loved ones anyway.
"What about coming up with an apology that is more than an
Some people commented that Telecom would have offered free
calls on Christmas Day anyway.
On its Facebook page, Telecom responded that it had
considered a few options, including free data and pro-rata
"We thought this was the best way to say thanks at Christmas
time, and soon after the issues that caused the whole thing
in the first place."
It said Christmas was "one of the busiest calling days of the
year" and it was not always free to make national calls on
"...we hope as many folk as possible take up the offer to get
in touch with loved ones, family or friends."
Telecom said the gesture would be "a little hard to take" for
customers who already got free landline calls - but it hoped
more than 120 free Wi-Fi hotspots at popular holiday spots
this summer would make up for it.
Details of the Wi-Fi hotspots, planned before the outages,
would be announced tomorrow.
Telecom spokeswoman Jo Jalfon said the free
landline-to-landline calling was not supposed to be seen as
"It's just really a goodwill gesture to all customers,
because not all customers were obviously impacted by the
outage," she said.
"Telecom sincerely apologises for the inconvenience that it
did cause those people, but hopefully this is just a nice way
for people to be able to connect with their friends and
family at a special time of the year."
The faults last week meant customers had broadband issues for
about 19 hours over two days, with two-thirds of the downtime
in the early hours between midnight and 6am.
The main fault occurred during a software upgrade on a
broadband server on Tuesday morning. Flow-on issues affected
the network from later that night until about 10am the next
Last month, the company ruled out compensation after an
unrelated fault with a fibre-optic cable left about 25,000
mainly residential customers without broadband.