Telco Conspiracy theories – volume 1

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Everybody loves a good  old conspiracy theory!

Telco Bill Cutters hear a lot about what goes on behind the curtains inside our industry and with that comes conspiracy theories! We are like the Alex Jones’ – Info Wars of Australian Telco… without the Texas accent.


Quite often this leads to many interesting conversations with some industry contacts regarding certain companies and their ‘questionable’ practices.

As an early caviet to this article – this is just our report on a strange experience we had and we are asking the questions and speculating on possibly unknowable things which may have caused or led to a series of events today. We are giving our perspective on our experiences and in no way are saying we know what happened or whom is responsible.

However – today is a great example of one of these such conspiracy theories!

conspiracy theory

Telco Bill Cutters manage a small boutique real estate in North Brisbane owned by a genuine and charismatic real estate agent (I know right?) named Chris who came to us mid 2013 with so many problems it almost defies logic. They have been regularly dubbed the ‘cursed account’ as everything that can go wrong, generally does with poor old Chris and his phones.

Most of the time we narrow it down to the pre-existing poor set up of their phone system and how that relates inefficiency with their lines etc (all done years prior to TBC coming on board).

Today was a different day however as we received the dreaded “OUR PHONES ARENT WORKING” subject title on an email at 7.00am. Naturally we jumped into trouble shooting mode trying to isolate the issue and find out what is wrong, why it happened and what needs to be done to fix it immediately. Normally this is a pretty quick process and it takes a quick call to one of the providers he uses to re-program and sometimes we have to get a technician out to reboot the system. Today proved different as none of these measures had any effect on the outcome. In fact, we spoke to all 3 parties involved (Telstra, Engin and the phone system maintainer) and they all said their services were working perfectly independently (which we verified as correct) but for some reason wouldn’t work together!

Chris recently had been changed over to the NBN service on his account and so receives amazing internet speeds through his provider of choice Telstra. He then uses Engin as his VoIP/SIP provider that runs his lines which are configured to his Samsung phone system. We were bemused as to why his internet was running smoothly and Engin would run on other internet connections but not specifically together as they were the weeks before. The phone technician proposed that he thinks Telstra maybe ‘blocking’ (general term for just not allowing something to work somehow) Engin from being able to connect to the IP and therefore work with the phone system.

I was reluctant to accept it but having exhausted all other logic avenues organised a conference call with a complaints manager and Chris to confirm this not to be the case. Telstra vehemently denied any wrongdoing over the phone as expected so I politely asked “that’s fine, but can you send that in an email so we can at least show it to Engin to make them accountable”.

Here is when things got very strange…

All of a sudden the Telstra representative suddenly changed the tone of the conversation and said things like “only our legal team can send confirmation emails” and “I do not have the authority to confirm this in writing” which really sparked my ears up along with Chris. Bemused by it all, I began to become suspicious and so pressed the Telstra rep to please find someone who could get the authority as the email was crucial to being able to solve the problem and get the phones working again. After a series of grunts and short answers they said they would be in contact soon.

This was midday on the 5/12/2014.

At that stage it was a waiting game as we couldn’t do anything until we had the confirmation from Telstra so Chris got on with his day without his phones and we at the office of Telco Bill Cutters were on stand-by while we serviced our other clients.

That night I had the phone system technician log in remotely to check something completely different and unrelated in the system and to his surprise he emailed me back and said… I don’t know what you and Chris said but the phones are working again!

So without being able to do anything else but try and hold Telstra legally accountable about not ‘blocking’ other providers from accessing the IP addresses we all of a sudden had a perfect working phone system that was un-restricted to Engin.

Now call me crazy but doesn’t that all seem suspicious?

Telstra happy to confirm no wrongdoing verbally but not in writing? And then all of a sudden without doing anything else but ask the question and probe a little further with them, the restrictions just… disappear?

Is this Telstra playing tricks with their access to make other providers look unreliable?

Correlation of course never equals causation and we are just speculating but it is an interesting little scenario that is completely unexplained from our perspective. Maybe we are completely wrong and it was just an anomaly that sometimes occurs when two providers try and work in association with external hardware and this article has about as much substance as Elvis still being alive… or maybe not.

Just another day in the Telco world!


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