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TCF: Telcos meeting New Zealand demand

The New Zealand telecommunications industry is responding positively to New Zealanders’ demand for access to high quality telecommunications services, according to the New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (TCF).

The Commerce Commission has released its Annual Telecommunication Monitoring Report this week, and the TCF says it is welcoming the report's findings. 

TCF says the report shows that the industry is meeting consumer demand for increased data, with consumption of mobile data rising 35% percent compared to 2018 levels and broadband data rising 21%.

 “Data consumption continues to increase and the industry has responded by investing in its networks and making capacity available,” says  New Zealand Telecommunications Forum chief executive officer Geoff Thorn.

The Commerce Commission’s report shows that the majority of New Zealand households now access the internet via fibre, as opposed to a copper connection, with 880,000 homes and businesses connected to the fibre broadband network. Connections via alternative technologies have also increased, according to the report.

 “It is clear that Kiwis are taking advantage of the opportunity to choose a connection technology which is best for them and which provides them with flexibility in the way they work and play,” says Thorn.

 “Despite the increased demand for data, New Zealand broadband speeds are still improving with our fixed line broadband speeds well above the OECD average," he explains.

Thorn says the competitiveness of the New Zealand industry is evident in the pricing of these services, with ultra-high broadband users able to access unlimited data at high speeds for far less than the OECD average.

 “It is clear that consumers are benefiting from high levels of investment by the industry which is providing them with the flexibility to choose how they wish to connect," Thorn says. 

"No matter how they connect, they are able to access increased amounts of data at competitive prices and faster speeds,” he says. 

It has been a big year for New Zealand's telecommunications industry, with Slingshot, Flip and Orcon all fined by the Commerce Commission earlier this year.

The telco providers pleaded guilty and were convicted in relation to 13 charges under the Fair Trading Act for conduct that occurred between 2 January 2012 and 1 March 2018. They were fined a total of $121,500 for making false representations in invoices they sent to their customers. 

The Commerce Commission said all three companies terms and conditions said charges for customers' internet and/or landline services would stop one month after they gave notice to terminate their contracts. However, the companies issued final invoices to nearly 6,000 customers that included charges for services beyond the one-month notice period. In doing so, the companies misrepresented their rights to payments because their customers only owed payment for the services provided prior to the agreed termination date. As a result, customers overpaid around $132,000.