The TeamTalk Story

The beginning

Bambina in the office - Vivian St office Wellington
Bambina in the office -
Vivian St office Wellington
In 1994, David Ware, frustrated by the poor service and lack of delivery from telecommunications companies, set out to start his own. His goal: to create the best little telco in New Zealand.

At the time, David had been working as a transmission technician for the Post Office, and if you had met him then, you might have doubted whether his goal was attainable.

But David has always liked a challenge and didn't let the small problems like having no money, no staff, no infrastructure get in the way of building a telecommunications company which keeps its promises, delivers great service and delivers its investors a return.

Armed with his business plan (to start a mobile radio company that will compete directly with Telecom's mobile radio service), David employed some of his mates, attracted some personnel and infrastructure support from TVNZ and money from a venture capital firm in the US.

Arm wrestling for business - David Ware and Alan Cosford (MCS digital
Arm wrestling for business - David Ware and Alan Cosford (MCS digital)
With these "small" problems addressed, TeamTalk began - launching its mobile radio service on 10 August 1994 with two sites in Wellington and two sites in Auckland.

The early years

David's dream had become a reality, but he faced one more problem - a major one - TeamTalk's four sites were hopelessly outgunned in power and coverage by Telecom's 100 sites spread around the country.

With no direct sales force, everyone in the company took turns getting out on the road and selling their product. David's early approach to employing his staff has continued and is still applied today. TeamTalk-ers must be the best at what they do and want to have fun in their work - they work hard and play hard.

Burying the hatchet - after the Telecom FleetLink aquisition
Burying the hatchet - after the Telecom FleetLink aquisition

The commitment to customer service kept growing. One night a customer called in saying they had a flat tyre that they couldn't change and they couldn't contact their base. Could TeamTalk help? Our operations manager got out of bed, grabbed his tools and went and changed the tyre. The famous TeamTalk concept of "whatever it takes" was born.

Throughout 1994 and 1995, TeamTalk steadily enlarged its network throughout the North Island , gaining its first corporate customer, Eastern Equities Ltd in 1995, closely followed by construction giant, Fulton Hogan.

A passion for the technology

TeamTalk is dedicated to innovation and looking at new ways to supply hard-working New Zealand businesses with the communications tools they need at the right price. So it's no surprise that TeamTalk began as it intended to continue.
Abseiling after midnight - a TT conference
Abseiling after midnight - a TT conference

In August 1994, the same month that TeamTalk was launched, Maurice Williamson, (Telecommunications Minister at the time) made the first-ever mobile radio call between Auckland and Wellington. This was the first of many TeamTalk-initiated innovations in telecommunications.

TeamTalk connected its first customers using mobile data in 1996. Mobile data applications have changed the way we do business, with hundreds of TeamTalk customers experiencing the benefits of TeamTalk data services. Today, more than 30% of all calls across TeamTalk's networks are carrying data.

A bumpy end to the millennium

The management team had moved to Brazil in 1996 at the request of their US backers to establish a mobile radio network using the cutting-edge technology TeamTalk had been using in New Zealand.

In 1999, the team returns home from Brazil to discover that the US owners have filed for bankruptcy protection and that TeamTalk has lost its way in their absence, so they got down to business and bought the company they had helped to create.

Whatever it takes - Nick Lourantos walkling on hot coals
Whatever it takes - Nick Lourantos walkling on hot coals
Re-focussed on it's original mission of being the best little telco in New Zealand, TeamTalk gets back on track and receives a substantial capital investment boost from Active Equities Limited, which purchases a 50% shareholding in the company.

Measuring up to an old foe

TeamTalk applies to the Commerce Commission for permission to buy Telecom's mobile radio services, notwithstanding the market dominance that it would create. The Commission grants approval concluding that the purchase would be in New Zealand 's best interests.

On May 14, 2001 TeamTalk purchased Fleetlink and Telecom's other mobile radio assets. Telecom decided that it liked TeamTalk so much it took a 19.9 percent stake in the company.

Money matters

A first taste of financial success was achieved in 2003, with the company able to repurchase Telecom's shareholding as well as paying its owners their first dividend.

In 2004, after a very successful IPO, TeamTalk Limited lists on the NZSX at a significant premium.

Growing into the future

TeamTalk proudly wears the tagline - How Work Gets Done - a legacy of twelve years of successful road-building of the business.

The road is still under construction. It will never be complete while there are customers seeking ever better and more efficient mobile radio communications. TeamTalk Limited is growing, with a focus on finding new ways to enable the technology to grow with our customers businesses.