Orcon: our heart belongs to Vodafone. Probably
It’s still unclear when Orcon will launch its mobile phone service - originally promised for “spring”.
But the state-owned ISP told NBR its heart belongs to Vodafone and there’s nothing in a trade publication rumour that it will sell a rebadged version of Telecom’s XT network rather than Vodafone’s 3G network.
“We only have an MVNO [mobile virtual network operator] agreement with Vodafone,” said spokesman Duncan Blair.
Yet Mr Blair stopped short of saying point blank that Orcon would launch with Vodafone. The company would not comment on any commercial negotiations.
Telecom originally said it would bar its MVNO partners from its new XT network until 2011.
But after TelstraClear walked - announcing it would 30,000-odd mobile customers to Vodafone - and 2degrees gained unexpected traction - Telecom announced it would wholesale XT by 2010.
Although there are a number of MVNOs now - all bar one in Vodafone’s camp - there is only one of any market power: CallPlus, which sells a rebadged Vodafone 3G service as CallPlus Mobile and Slingshot Mobile.
CallPlus recently told NBR it had signed around 1000 mobile connections.
Orcon and CallPlus are the country’s forth an fifth largest ISPs respectively. Each has around 150,000 customers - a fertile home ground to upsell to a mobile service.
Mr Blair wouldn’t comment on the reason for Orcon’s delays, or when its mobile service would finally launch. Trials have been underway for the past four months, with around 400 people using an Orcon-badged service.
NBR can't help but wonder if the hold-up is being caused by a last-minute offer from Telecom - which Orcon is either considering, or attempting to use as leverage to get a better deal from Vodafone.