Stuff has yet another article on XT's recent failure but a couple of things stick out:
Wellington sisters Leigh and Nikki Maetzig said when their mother became ill with a stomach condition near the Basin Reserve on Wednesday night, her calls to them did not get through. She was eventually able to ring an ambulance and was taken to Wellington Hospital.
Did the woman try to flag down a passing motorist? Was she in a state where she could walk to a nearby property and ask for a landline call to be made? Was this a pre-existing condition?
Severe enough for an Ambulance, likely means severe enough to take steps beyond simply trying your own cellphone, and looking failure in the face for an hour!. Of course, if she was trapped in her car and doubled over in pain, perhaps this isn't so cut and dried; it's certainly reasonable to expect that if you own a cellphone, it should be a fair contingency for a situation such as this, though i'd love to know more detail of the background...
... And desperate relatives looking for missing Nelson teenager Leo Lipp-Neighbours, last seen on Sunday, said the outage made it impossible to call some searchers, hampering efforts to find him.
Coordinated search was it? There's a reason that SAR prefer radio comms to cellphones in a lot of circumstances! Again, whilst a cellphone is useful, XT's outage should've been an inconvenience but not a major.
Of course, the fact that it was an inconvenience at all is a major problem for Telecom. As the article cites, people expect a degree of reliability in a cellular network - especially when they pay big money and sign an agreement of service.
Yes, there's the usual 'act of God' type exclusions but XT's had more than it's share of problems of late.
A recent conversation on Twitter revealed that several XT users find the need to retain a Vodafone or 2Degrees Prepay as a 'backup'.
I on the other hand have Vodafone as my primary and though I do have a CDMA (Telecom's pre-XT legacy network) prepay, that's more through good luck than good planning (twas a freebie many moons ago) and thus far I don't think i've ever had to use it. Maybe once in 6+ years?
Nice to know it's there, of course. I try to travel with at least two means of communication, if i'm at any risk and/or it's any distance. Of course, Amateur Radio makes that easy.
[EDIT: Funny ad being run by Vodafone in response to Telecom's XT FAIL. As Tweeted by @DomHarvey of The Edge Radio Station... ]