It’s too early to call it a comeback.
And certainly no one will be until we see Telecom’s next quarterly numbers, in black and white.
But the evidence indicates XT’s had a reasonably good time of it over the past month.
On Friday, a Gen-i insider told NBR, on Friday, that Telecom had won 10,000 government XT connections over the past three weeks (some net-new; some upgrading from the telco’s older CDMA network).
On the same day, Geni Australasia chief executive Chris Quin said his Telecom IT and services division, which has been spearheading XT’s corporate and government push, had just closed its most successful quarter in its six-year history.
(The fourth quarter, which closed June 30, marked the end of Telecom's financial year. In the third quarter, Gen-i's reported 6% revenue growth and 7% growth in mobile connections. Telecom as a whole slipped, Vodafone increased its market share.)
Winning some back, losing others
There are other positives.
The Paul Reynolds-fronted XT ads struck the right note (no mean feat).
And today Digital Island - finally, after months of build-up - becomes the first reseller (or “mobile virtual network operator" or MVNO) for Telecom’s 3G network.
But XT is not having it all its own way. A big XT upgrade win at Freightways (moving up from CDMA) is balanced by the loss of the 1000-connection Dunedin City Council.
And Gen-i is still grafting hard to pull two high-profile XT hold-outs, Fonterra and Capital & Coast Health.
With the former, the services unit is enjoying some under-the-radar success.
With the latter, it’s come up against a fresh obstacle: Telecom’s all-of-government telecommunications contract, currently being renegotiated.
And it is, of course, an open question how Gen-i, and Telecom's consumer-focussed mobile operation, would perform if the company's structural separation does not stop at a retail/wholesale split, but sees all divisions spun off in a similar manner to Fletcher Challenge in the late 1990s - as one analyst suggests could happen.
But there's no denying that, as things stand today, XT's rehabilitation is well underway.
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