Does Xtra get "special" treatment from Telecom?
Copyright © 1996 to Bruce Simpson
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Since its launch, Xtra has claimed that when it comes to procuring services and products from parent company Telecom, it is treated just like any other customer with no special treatment.

Reports from within and without Xtra have indicated that this is by and large pretty much the case but the issue over Voyager's use of the 0800-BUY-EXTRA word-number may bring this into question.

In a letter to the editor, Peter Belt of Auckland ISP Web World highlights the fact that Telecom appear to be using their monopoly position to protect Xtra.

Quentin Bright, spokesperson for Telecom said that this was not the case at all. "Xtra is a part of Telecom so naturally Telecom will protect its interests" said Bright".

When asked if this represented an abuse of Telecom's monopoly position, Bright denied the assertion and went on to state that Telecom was entitled to stop Voyager from "passing off" on the strength of the 0800-BUY-EXTRA wordnumber.

Asked if Telecom would be as active in protecting the rights of other organisations whose name or trademarks had been "acquired" as word-numbers by another organisation he said "we'd probably put them in touch with each other so they could come to some kind of arrangement".

The realities of the situation will probably be determined by whether Telecom unilaterally withdraws the number - arguably an abuse of their monopoly position since they would not be prepared to do the same on behalf of any other client; or take the matter to court - in which case it simply becomes a civil action as could be taken by any party in the same position.

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