Long-time customer rewarded as Spark is born

JAMIE SMALL AND ALAN WOOD
Last updated 05:00 08/08/2014
 Nursing student Devon Caffell
THANK YOU: Nursing student Devon Caffell was one of the first to use the Spark ATM – and got in return $15,000 towards tertiary fees, and other prizes.

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A 72-year-old Te Kuiti woman has had 26 years of phone bills refunded by Telecom. Pam Morgan won the refund during a promotion by Telecom, now Spark, to raise awareness of its brand.

Spark managing director Simon Moutter said the rebranding was the biggest step in the company's transformation over the past 18 months. It was saying thank you to customers as part of that change.

"We now do much more than provide a copper line telephone service and we no longer own the fixed line network.

"We're into a whole raft of new technologies . . . business cloud services, data centres, internet TV, whatever new is around the corner.

"The Telecom brand simply didn't reflect this new world," Moutter said.

A Spark "thanks" reward programme for existing customers was based around what those people enjoyed, including music, movies and technology

"Automatic thanks machines", or ATMs, have been trialled by the company throughout the country, including in Te Kuiti this week to help give thanks. The ATMs give out prizes to their users.

One of the first ATMs was in Christchurch. Prizes to polytechnic nursing student Devon Caffell included a new mobile-based free-plan for a year, a Samsung tablet and $15,000 towards tertiary fees.

Morgan, who works at the Waitomo News and runs an animal shelter from her home, received the biggest thanks from the Spark ATM to date - a refund of every Telecom bill she has ever paid. Morgan has been a customer of Telecom since 1987.

Telecom, which has used its name for 27 years, changed its name to Spark last night. Spark's website said the change was to reflect that it is no longer just a home landline company, but covers "mobility, music, social, apps, internet TV, Cloud, data and pathways to the digital world".

The company announced the rebranding in February, saying it would cost about $20 million.

Moutter said the company knew many longstanding customers were happy with the Telecom brand, but Spark would be committed to improving services. Its medium-to-large business and IT services division, Gen-i, would become Spark Digital.

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