Telcos were back in the news in a big way this week thanks to a surprise move from the Government and a marketing stunt that probably didn't get quite the kind of publicity hoped for.
Vodafone marketing execs have no doubt been mumbling "there's no such thing as bad publicity, there's no such thing as bad publicity" under their breath a few times this week. Around 8pm Tuesday night, Vodafone posted a short and sweet Facebook status that due to a "major security breach" the entire shipment of Sony Xperia Play phones (aka the PlayStation phone) had been stolen and the launch therefore delayed. They followed this up quickly on Twitter but wouldn't say much more than that. TechDay was on the story straight away and after a rather coy response from Vodafone's media rep, predicted the whole thing was a marketing stunt.
Either way, Vodafone made up for it on Friday by undercutting pretty much everyone on data roaming charges in Australia.
On the UFB front, Steven Joyce couldn't really catch a break this week. On Tuesday InternetNZ led criticism on the Government's ultra-fast broadband plan, one of the main reasons being Joyce's refusal to let the 8.5-year regulatory holiday on wholesale pricing go. On Wednesday, Joyce backed down from the provision, announcing instead the introduction of "contractual mechanisms" that would see the Government picking up any slack in costs. Almost everyone was happy, including InternetNZ and the telecom industry organisation TUANZ. Labour, however, did not share in the enthusiasm. Labour's Claire Curran criticized Joyce for flip-flopping and for caving to an option "forced" upon him by the Maori Party. In Simon Hendery's Fibre Watch column, he called the whole thing a farce and a "shambolic process".
Part of Curran's criticism focused on the clause that would have the taxpayer making up the difference in telcos pockets should the Commerce Commission exercise its right to regulate lower prices. But at the TUANZ Telecommunications Day conference, Joyce said he believed that wouldn't happen and the cost to the taxpayer would remain zero.
And just when it seemed like everyone was mostly happy, an independent analysis of the plan concluded there may be as many as 100,000 students over 400 schools that will miss out on high-speed broadband either by being too big for rural broadband or too small for the urban initiatives.
Meanwhile, the word on everyone's lips this week was "planking" aka the sport of extreme lying-down. Unfortunately it turned out to not be such a laughing matter. The Facebook craze claimed its first victim when a 20 year-old Australian man, Acton Beale, fell seven storeys to his death after an attempted planking on a balcony railing. That didn't seem to stop the Planking Australia Facebook page from attracting a few thousand more members though.
Social gaming grabbed some positive airtime. First, TradeMe founder Sam Morgan attracted $2.5 million in funding for Kiwi social gaming site SmallWords. Second, Lady Gaga teamed with social gaming industry leaders Zynga to turn Farmville temporarily into Gagaville.
If we're all still here after the Rapture this weekend, we'll see you back on Monday!
Bits and bobs:
- What's in the budget for ICT
- LinkedIn IPO rains money
- Google rolls out Android Wi-Fi vulnerability fix
- AppleCare reps told not to help remove Mac Defender malware
- A UN report equates government-mandated internet disconnection with a violation of civil rights
- Unlike Apple, HP favours USB 3.0 over Thunderbolt for new range of desktops