blog It may not be a great week to be a customer of one of Australia’s mobile resellers, especially if your provider’s upstream provider is wholesale telco ispONE. The telco this morning issued a media release stating that it had filed an application with the Federal Court seeking to stop its own upstream provider, Telstra, from terminating the supply of prepaid mobile services to ispONE. Why is this an issue? Because if Telstra moves ahead with the move, it will result in some 280,000 customers losing their mobile access. ispONE has issued the following statement:
ispONE has today filed an urgent application with the Federal Court which it expects will be heard at 2.15PM today by a Federal Court judge. ispONE is seeking to restrain Telstra from terminating the supply of prepaid mobile services to ispONE which ispONE on-supplies through over 100 retailers to over 280,000 consumers of fixed line, mobile phone and internet services.
Telstra claims it has a right to terminate the services due to the failure by ispONE to pay invoices issued by Telstra by their due date. However ispONE claims that no amount is presently due and payable, and that Telstra owes it money based on Telstra’s incorrect rating of data pricing for prepaid mobile services. ispONE asserts that Telstra has breached its agreement with ispONE, engaged in misleading and deceptive and unconscionable conduct. ispONE also claims an entitlement to damages based on the significant problems experienced with Telstra’s mobile prepaid platform, which earlier this year left many consumers without service as there were delays in porting numbers to Telstra.
ispONE is very concerned to ensure the continuity of service provision to all its retailers and their ultimate end users. Accordingly, ispONE has been acting swiftly to attempt to affect a resolution of its issues with Telstra and to prevent Telstra from interfering with the ongoing supply of the services. As these attempts have not been successful, ispONE has issued the Court application as a last resort to ensure the continued supply of the services.
A Telstra spokesperson didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment, but the company has provided the following statement to ZDNet: “ISPOne is a customer of Telstra Wholesale. We have met all our contractual obligations to them. We can’t comment on matters before the court, other than to say we will exercise all our legal rights in this case. We have not made any changes to the arrangements with ISPOne at this time.”
Look, to our mind what should happen here is very clear. Under no circumstances should Telstra merely stop providing these mobile services to ispONE in the short-term. The telco has a responsibility to the several hundred thousand customers which are using ispONE’s services. If Telstra does indeed work out that it no longer wants to provide services to ispONE, then it must urgently develop a migration plan with the company, or with the end user customers themselves, so that the continuity of the mobile services which they have paid for will be ensured, at least in the short term. Cutting off several hundred thousand customers from mobile access without notice is simply not on.