Vodafone takes over New Zealand mobile customers

Vodafone is taking over management of New Zealand carrier TelstraClear's mobile phone customers following the end of a seven-year old agreement in June, a New Zealand Press Association report said.

The report said customers will keep their existing phone number and operate their phones as normal, but will receive a separate bill from Vodafone.

The agency agreement has expired amid an increasingly strained relationship between the two telcos, with TelstraClear blaming the failure of its $50 million mobile/broadband pilot in Tauranga in April on Vodafone, the report said.

While TelstraClear owns some fixed-line infrastructure in Wellington and Christchurch, most of its business is based on reselling its rivals' services, it added.

Vodafone has been signing up customers to a wholesale service launched last year to replace the previous agency arrangements, and was in talks with TelstraClear about a wholesale relationship, Vodafone spokesman Paul Brislen was quoted by the report as saying.

Wholesale customers included Orcon and Compass Communications, and Australian telco M2 was in discussions to finalize a wholesale service, the report said.

Vodafone will contact all TelstraClear mobile customers to confirm details of the move. Vodafone will also provide technical support, the report further said.