If you don’t need the highest download speeds and lots of data it is a great alternative to fixed line internet. See an in-depth review of the service written when it first launched in January 2016.
You need to buy a fixed wireless modem from Skinny before you can use the service. It costs $100 and a courier will deliver it to your home.
Seven months since Skinny Broadband launch
When Skinny Broadband launched, the price for a 60GB data plan was $55 a month plus $200 upfront for the modem.
Soon after launch, the modem price dropped to $100. Then Skinny added a 100GB plan for $65. This week Skinny settled on the cheaper and simpler 100GB for $52 plan.
One advantage Skinny Broadband has is it is prepay. This means customers only buy as much internet as they need. You might, say, use it if you move to a seaside bach for a couple of months over the summer. Students may sign for the service in term time, then use their parent’s internet during vacation.
Spark’s cunning fixed wireless plan
Skinny is a Spark subsidiary brand. It began by selling low-cost prepaid mobile phone plans. It expanded into prepaid broadband earlier this year.
While Skinny says “sales to date continue to hit target”, Spark is more positive.
Speaking at the company’s full-year results announcement, Spark New Zealand managing director Simon Moutter says fixed wireless broadband has exciting potential. He says it uses the significant spectrum assets Spark acquired in recent years.
Moutter says Skinny Broadband is a beta test of the company’s wireless internet plans. To date that service has signed about 12,000 customers.
Now Spark plans to ramp up its wireless broadband offering. It aims to add another 50,000 more connections in the next year.
The next step will see a full market launch of a fixed wireless service. Spark plans to promote it as a substitute for fixed-line broadband. The company will target the low-end of the market.
Beyond Skinny and Spark
Spark already sells fixed wireless to out-of-towners as part of the Rural Broadband Initiative. What is less known is that the company sells it to townsfolk as well.
Vodafone does much the same with its RBI fixed wireless offer. For now, Vodafone is not talking about ramping up its fixed wireless offer to urban customers. Yet a move would make sense. The company has the spectrum and the necessary technology is already in place.
Rival 2degrees has less suitable wireless spectrum to play with. Even so, in theory, it could offer its own fixed wireless service.
Much of the telecommunications industry interest in fixed wireless internet comes down to bypassing high wholesale landline charges. Thanks to a Commerce Commission ruling the wholesale cost of a copper line is $41.69. This is high by international standards and makes fixed wireless broadband more competitive.