Does Telecom NZ even need Yahoo?

Telecom NZ’s Chris Quin says the company could walk away from its outsourcing deal which sees Yahoo look after mail accounts on the xtra.co.nz domain.

That’s a possible response to the security breach at Yahoo. The Internet company seems unable or unwilling to deal with the problem.

It is hard to see what value Yahoo gives Telecom NZ in 2013.

When Telecom NZ outsourced its mail service to Yahoo in 2007. It needed a way to manage the 800,000 or so Xtra mail accounts.

In those days ISP customers expected to get email accounts as part of their Internet services. Today’s ISPs sell data pipes with a little support and little else.

Many Xtra customers already have webmail accounts with services like Gmail and Outlook.com.

A YahooXtra account is almost unnecessary.

I say almost unnecessary because there are two reasons Telecom can’t immediately dump them altogether.

First, history – what technology people might call ‘legacy issues’. Some of my email still comes via Xtra even though it is routed through Gmail. Figuring out which contacts have my old address and getting them to update my details isn’t straightforward.

Second, webmail address are second class citizens online. Some services don’t allow customers to sign up with Gmail, Hotmail or Outlook.com addresses. Not every Telecom NZ customer wants to buy their own domain for a mail address, so keeping the Xtra domain as an option would be a good move.

Telecom NZ can walk customers through the process of setting up webmail accounts on alternative services – not a difficult job. And I’m sure Google and Microsoft would be only too happy to help sign up new business.

6 thoughts on “Does Telecom NZ even need Yahoo?

    • I suspect a redirection service for 800,000 accounts wouldn’t come free, but the cost per account would be tiny and a lot less trouble than dealing with Yahoo.

  1. Unfortunately all the friend of an xtra user have this email address and will use it for 5 years, even if you phase it out now. Most tradies here in Tauranga use an xtra address on their van! And unfortunately if you spend 5 more years not phasing it out, it will take you 10 years.

  2. I don’t know why they even bother trying to provide an email service when there are so many alternatives. Vodafone’s mail service is down more often than I care to think, likely due to a lack of investment given providing that service doesn’t actually generate revenue or gain customers (seriously, has anyone ever chosen an ISP based on their email service? Gmail on the other hand seems to keep chugging no matter what. Xtra has their spamming issues. There are benefits to having an independent (or owning your own domain), it gives you portability…which raises another issue, email portability, they did it with mobile phone numbers. I’ve got 1000 business cards with X email address on it, if I change provider, they aren’t worth the card they are printed on. Using an independent provider mitigates this issue and doesn’t tie you into any one provider.
    My advice to Telecom, ditch Yahoo and have a chat to Gmail, they’ve got it sorted.

  3. Pingback: Dump Yahoo now | Bill Bennett

  4. Pingback: Don’t expect NZ digital spectrum windfall | Bill Bennett

Comments are closed.