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2degrees is New Zealand’s third largest telecommunications company. It started as a pre-pay mobile operator but has developed into a full service telco. I

Industry’s Orcon-2degrees merger fears

It’s not enough to halt the merger, but submissions to the Commerce Commission point out regulatory challenges that may emerge after an Orcon-2degrees merger.

Industry voices Orcon-2degrees merger fears

Wispa warns a proposed merger between Orcon and 2degrees will “negatively affect its members”. The organisation representing 33 wireless internet service providers says the deal is “unlikely to result in significantly greater competition”.

These views are expressed in the Wispa’s Commerce Commission submission. The telecommunications watchdog is collecting industry views as it prepares to decide whether the merger can go ahead. Evidence of a material reduction in market competition would put the merger in jeopardy.

Wispa makes this point. It says because both players are active in the wholesale internet services market, the merger will reduce choice for all smaller ISPs looking for handover services.

Mobile virtual network operator

The organisation wants a condition placed on the merger that would see the company work with retailers to develop a workable MVNO model.

That’s not going to happen. While overseas completion rules allow regulators to impose conditions before approving mergers, New Zealand’s rules do not allow this.

Not everything in Wispa’s submission is negative. The organisation says there are members who believe a stronger third player will increase competition in retail phone services.

Chorus has open access worries

In its submission Chorus says after a merger there would be three large vertically integrated telcos able to provide fixed wireless broadband.

These companies would account for more than 80 percent of the retail broadband market and that change would create challenges for the open access wholesale market.

The network company does not argue against the merger taking place, but does want the regulator to consider taking steps to protect consumers interests.

It points out today’s regulatory framework is based on open access to fixed-line networks and that could be undermined by the rise of vertically integrated fixed and mobile operators.


New AWS Local Zone for Auckland

The local cloud infrastructure build continues to expand with AWS announced a new Local Zone in Auckland. It is due to open in 2024. The company says it has invested NZ$7.5 billion in the infrastructure.

Local Zone is the name AWS uses when it places cloud edge services close to large population centres. The key is that by being near, it means customers can use applications that need low latency.

AWS names real-time gaming, media and entertainment content creation as applications that might use a Local Zone.


2degrees rewards customers for turning off phone

Real Mode is a promotion from 2degrees that encourages users to balance their online and offline lives. It includes a web app and a prize draw, where customers get a draw entry for 15 minutes their phone is off.

CEO Mark Aue says the aim is to help customers “switch off their phone and switch on to other people”. There’s evidence that spending time away from being in constant touch helps make people happier.


Orcon brands shine at NZ Compare Awards

Three Orcon brands were among the winners at this year’s NZ Compare Awards. Orcon was named as the Best Fibre Broadband Provider and it won the Making a Difference award. The company’s Slingshot brand won the People’s Choice award.

Now took out prize for the Broadband Provider of the Year and the Best Customer Support. Wireless Nation was named as the Best Wireless Service Provider while 2degrees took out the Best Value Broadband Provider award.

Lightwire came top in the Best Rural Broadband Provider category and Sky won the prize for Best Bundled Plan. Vodafone was named as having the Best Digital Innovation.


Vodafone summer builds

Vodafone reports it completed six new company owned mobile sites in December. It upgraded 18 existing sites and added 22 new Rural Connectivity Group sites during the month. In January it upgraded six sites and added two more RCG towers.

The telco says it saw traffic double at sites in some holiday hotspots. It named The Coromandel as a busy area.


In other news…

CommsDay reports Vodafone is preparing to spin out its tower infrastructure. The telco has yet to make a final decision but says the process is at ‘an advanced stage’. The report says CEO Jason Paris does not view passive infrastructure as a driver of competitive advantage.

International internet bandwidth rose by 29 percent in 2021 says Telegeography in its 2022 State of the Network report. That’s big, but the previous year saw a surge of 34 percent, which Telegeography puts down to the Covid pandemic.

David Clark, the digital economy and communications minister has released a draft industry transformation plan. He says the industry contributed $6.6 billion to the economy in 2019.

Over the summer the government agreed a radio spectrum deal with Māori interests. The agreement gives 20 percent of commercial spectrum to Māori and establishes a $75 million development fund. It aims to build Māori capability in spectrum related industries.


The Download 2.0 is a free weekly wrap up of New Zealand telecommunications news stories published every Friday.

2degrees-Orcon merger, will it shake market?

Last week the Commerce Commission published “a statement of preliminary issues” on the 2degrees-Orcon merger.

It says the Commission will allow the merger to go ahead if it doesn’t reduce market competition.

On a simple level that question looks straightforward.

There are about 90 retail telecommunications companies in New Zealand. Removing one through a merger may not make much difference.

Yet not all retail telecommunications companies are equal. 2degrees and Orcon, formerly Vocus, are the third and fourth largest.

Teasing out all the arguments is not easy.

Mobile competition

Before the merger there were three mobile carriers. That doesn’t change.

The merger removes New Zealand’s largest Mobile Virtual Network Operator from the market.

There are overseas competition watchdogs who see MNVO health as a sign a market is competitive. New Zealand has never had a healthy vibrant MNVO sector.

The market is not open as it looks

Spark, Vodafone, 2degrees and Orcon are the four largest telcos. They account for about 95 percent of the market.

You could argue they are the only companies worth considering in any analysis of market competition.

In effect, Spark, Vodafone, 2degrees and Orcon are the market.

Moving the NZ telco market

The rest are important and essential, but none of them can move the market. The big four can.

The next largest is Sky Network Television with around a one percent market share. Trustpower comes in at sixth place with roughly the same share.

At a stretch you might consider these in an analysis. After the top six you are dealing with minnows.

From that point of view taking out one of the big four changes the competition landscape a great deal.

It may not reduce consumers absolute choice on paper.

They remain free to pick from 90 service providers. Yet the majority of consumers will pick one of what could soon be the big three. At best they will consider the top five remaining players where there were six.

In that sense, the merger means a significant reduction in competition.

Expert view

Competition experts at the Commerce Commission will chew over this in coming weeks. They’ll get input from rival telcos, consumer groups and other industry players.

2degrees and Orcon suggest a stronger number three will ‘enhance’ competition.

That does not make sense if you agree consumers are reduced from four to three choices. Or, let’s be generous and say from six to five choices.

Does a merger enhance competition?

It does not make sense from another point of view.

Spark is more than three times the size of 2degrees. Vodafone is about two and a half times the size of 2degrees.

Adding Orcon to 2degrees does not make it much bigger. 2degrees is 12.5 percent of the market. Orcon is four percent. Together they are make up 16.5 percent. Spark and Vodafone have a 77 percent market share.

They will continue to dwarf the merged business.

The merged company won’t unnerve the big telcos in the short term. It will be an irritant more than a threat.

Smaller telcos

A merged, resource-rich business higher up the market could be bad for Sky or Trustpower.

Meanwhile the new business is as likely to increase pressure on the smaller telcos. Wiping them out would not be good. If they struggle as a result of the merger, then competition would suffer.

This is what Commerce Commission experts need to balance: the marginal impact of a slightly larger third player on the top two versus the impact of a larger third player on the remainder of the market.

Cost savings

In the past companies looking to merge would talk about ‘synergy’. It almost never happens. New Zealand’s telecommunications sector has a poor record when it comes from deriving rationalisation value from a merger.

There are potential cost savings1 and the opportunity for 2degrees to sell mobile to the 4 percent of customers arriving from Orcon.

None of this is to say the Commerce Commission will or won’t refuse the merger. But we can’t assume the decision is straightforward. There’s more to look at than meets the eye at first sight.

https://comcom.govt.nz/news-and-media/media-releases/2022/statement-of-preliminary-issues-released-for-vocus2degrees-merger


  1. Although previous mergers show integration can be harder than it looks. Think of Vodafone and TelstraClear or iHug. ↩︎

Selling broadband and energy as a bundle

Connections between telecommunications and the energy sector are not new. They could soon become more important.

When the New Zealand government first planned its fibre network three groups bid for contracts.

Chorus wanted the entire project. At the time it was part of Telecom. Axia Netmedia, a Canadian business, was the second bidder.

The third bidder was a consortium of power distribution companies. Each bid to build fibre in one or more of the 30-odd regions.

Northpower, Enable Networks and a group of power companies in the central North Island all won contracts.

These businesses are wholesale fibre companies and electricity distributors.

Power retailers selling broadband

In recent years power retailers have entered the broadband market. Both Trustpower and Contact Energy have sizable retail telecommunications businesses.

They come from power and now play in telecommunications.

Orcon comes from telecommunications and now plays in power.

In 2016, Vocus acquired Switch, an energy utility. It used this to offer power to customers at CallPlus, Slingshot and other brands.

It became Vocus Energy. You can find that brand today, but it is more common to see it as Orcon Power.

Orcon’s power potential

Power didn’t rate a mention in the 350 word press release announcing 2degrees merger with Orcon.

You have to read the attached Notes to editors, which is, in effect, a footnote to learn:”

“…Orcon Group, a fully-owned subsidiary of Vocus, is an integrated New Zealand telecommunications and energy business…”

Later, the press release expands on this in a ’key numbers section. Orcon has 40,000 energy customers.

This could prove to be far more important than that modest mention suggests.

Orcon has convinced almost one in five of its 200,000 plus customers to add power to their monthly broadband bill.

2degrees has around 1.5 million customers. If the merged company can convince these to move, it could mean 300,000 more power customers. That would make Orcon Power, or a rebranded version of the same, a giant in New Zealand electricity retail.

At the same time, it will make shareholders a lot of money.

Power and broadband networks

Up to a point, wholesale power and broadband are natural partners. They both operate physical distribution networks. You could string fibre from power networks. Before UFB, power companies built their own fibre networks to control their systems.

Places, like, say, cellphone towers, tend to need both a fibre connection and a power link. Combining the two makes sense.

The relationship between retail power companies and broadband is virtual more than physical.

Both businesses rely on sophisticated billing systems. It’s not that hard for savvy operators to combine power and broadband billing systems.

Years ago, service providers sent bills by physical mail. It was a significant cost each month. Printing both bills on one sheet of paper then stuffing and delivering a single envelope represented a major cost saving.

The savings are not on the same scale with electronic billing, but there are some benefits.

Would you like fries with that?

For power companies that sell broadband and telecoms companies who sell power, the main attraction is upsizing.

It costs a fast food outlet money to get a customer to walk in the door. There is marketing, a lot of marketing. And there is the cost of researching, buying and fitting out suitable real estate in places where there is a demand.

Once that customer arrives at the counter, there’s a small margin on the first thing they buy. If they can be upsold, the profit margin on the total transaction is higher.

Margins

A similar logic can apply to selling power and broadband together. It could increase the profit margin. Yet it doesn’t have to. Increasing the size of the sale means more profit even if both purchases carry the same margin.

After all, it’s not as if anyone has to do much more work to transact a power sale alongside a broadband sale. The extra revenue comes at almost no extra cost.

It would be worth doing if this were the only reason to sell power and broadband together.

There are two other points to consider. Both are important.

Harder to grasp

First, combined bills are more confusing to understand.

It’s easy to comparison shop for broadband. There are few variables. Line speed and download data are the main ones. Broadband providers offer a limited range of speeds and data options. Many customers pick a speed and choose unlimited data.

Comparing say, 2degrees broadband with Orcon broadband is simple.

You can’t say the same for electricity. Take a look at Consumer’s Powerswitch website. The combinations and options are confusing.

In some cases the power companies that bundle broadband are among the most expensive. You may get cheap broadband, but the combination can end up costing more than buying separate services.

It’s hard to tell. Sure you can spend an evening with a spreadsheet working things out. But there are many variables. It is difficult for an outsider to get a simple, clear picture.

Asymmetric information

None of this is to say the companies selling power and broadband combined are in any way unethical. The issue is asymmetric information, they know more about this than you do.

What is clear, is that selling power and broadband bundles is lucrative.

There is another huge advantage for companies that sell power and broadband together. It is much harder for customers to walk away when they have both.

The companies who sell bundles like to talk about ‘customer retention’.

It is simple for a broadband customer to switch from one provider to another if a better deal comes along. This happens all the time. In the business this is churn.

Reducing churn

The other business term you need to know at this point is the cost of customer acquisition.

Remember the fast food example? It costs McDonalds or KFC money to get a customer to walk in the door.

Likewise, broadband service providers spend money on advertising and other lures to win new business. This cost means the company may not break even with a new customer until they have been on the books for a few months. The longer they stay, the better the long term margin for that customer.

Getting customers to buy power with their broadband means they stay longer. That makes them more lucrative customers.

For consumers the benefit of having to pay a single monthly bill for two services is a small convenience. One less invoice to forget. It is a handful fewer mouse clicks or phone screen taps each month.

It may look like a cost saving, but you can often do better by buying separate services.

Before choosing a power and broadband bundle you need to check two things. First, get a better understanding of what you pay for electricity. The Powerswitch website can help.

Second, recognise that unravelling a bundle could be more difficult than it looks. Give thought to how you might do this if it is necessary.

How the Orcon-2degrees merger affects competition

Simple answer is ‘less than you might think in the short term, but watch this space’.

Orcon’s merger with 2degrees became official on New Year’s Eve.

The move brings together New Zealand’s third largest retail telco with the fourth largest.

As a consolidation play, it will alter the market dynamics at the margin.

It is not a radical competitive reset.

Let’s put it in perspective

At the time of writing, Spark accounts for around 44 percent of the retail telecommunications market by revenue.

Vodafone is roughly 33 percent of the market.

Orcon plus 2degrees has around a 17 percent share of New Zealand retail telecommunications revenue.

There are more than 90 other retail companies. Of them, Sky and Trustpower each have about one percent market share. The remainder are tiny compared to what is now the big three.

These figures come from the latest Commerce Commission telecommunications development levy allocation determination published on December 14.

The TDL figures include wholesale fibre companies and Kordia.

To get the market shares quoted above the wholesale fibre companies were removed and the remainder divided up.

Not a huge change

Before the merger 2degrees had around a 13 percent market share.

The merged third player is bigger at 17 percent, but not bigger enough to reshape the wider telecommunications market in the immediate future.

That said, there are pockets of the market where the change could be more significant over time.

Mobile market

Mobile market shares by subscribers 2020 - Commerce Commission figures
Mobile market shares by subscribers 2020 – Commerce Commission figures

Spark and Vodafone are neck and neck in the mobile sector. With a 19 percent market share, 2degrees is half the size of each of its rivals.

Merging with Orcon is not going to change that in the short term. Orcon is one of the largest mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) but the entire sector adds up to around one percent.

Adding Orcon’s mobile customers to 2degrees would be no more than a rounding error.

Over time the new business will have the opportunity to cross sell mobile services to its customers. And it can expand on the bundled deals 2degrees offers to existing broadband customers.

As a strategy it is going to be a long, hard slog. There is no guarantee it will go anywhere without aggressive pricing, but margins are tight enough now. The merged business does not have much room to manoeuvre on price.

Broadband

Estimated fixed broadband retailer market share by connections
Estimated fixed broadband retailer market share by connections 2020 – Commerce Commission figures

The Orcon-2degrees merger is likely to have its biggest impact on the broadband sector. Together the two companies have roughly the same market share as Vodafone. Each of them would be 20 percent of the market, compared with Spark’s 40 percent.

2degrees gives Orcon a realistic entry into fixed wireless broadband. That covers off a missing part of its existing portfolio.

In the past Orcon has kept the brands of the various broadband businesses it has acquired. Orcon, Callplus, Slingshot, Stuff Fibre and Flip remain in the market even if they share infrastructure and services behind the scene.

Given that history, it looks likely that the new business will keep the 2degrees broadband brand. That’s by no means certain. One possibility is for Orcon to rationalise its brands after the merger.

Having multiple brands gives Orcon-2degrees the option of differentiating products.

Consumers

Retail consumers may not see much change in the short term. It is not as if people have a close relationship with their service providers.

2degrees had the luxury of painting itself as a more customer facing rebel compared to the corporate monoliths of Vodafone and Spark, but that’s more a clever marketing stance than a practical reality.

Merging customer service operations has always been something of a disaster in New Zealand telecommunications.

It’s possible Orcon and 2degrees have a better formula for this than Vodafone. Anyone who has been close to the industry for a long time might not be optimistic about that.

The new business would like to tell you about the opportunity to sell power services to 2degrees customers. This deserves a story in its own right. Maybe another time.

It will be interesting to see if the 2degrees retail stores make many changes after the merger. Apart from offering a wider range of broadband brands, it’s not clear what else can happen here.

Business

The business and enterprise sector is where then merger could make the most impact in its early stages.

Both Orcon and 2degrees have targeted the more lucrative business market and, because of their size, have been able to be more creative than their bigger rivals when it comes to cutting deals.

Yet until now, they’ve been kept out of many of the biggest deals because they lack scale and a wide enough portfolio.

The merger gives Orcon better mobile options for its business customers. That’s something that has been, not a weakness, but a less explored avenue in the past.

Likewise, Orcon has the infrastructure in place to give 2degrees a much better story when approaching potential enterprise customers.

Potential savings

Companies don’t merge on this scale unless there are opportunities to make substantial savings. In almost every case this means jobs.

It can also mean premises. Both Orcon and 2degrees have fancy, new head offices at the posh end of town. Some of that may go. Or it maybe these buildings are rationalised and other offices close.

Orcon owns fibre around New Zealand, which 2degrees can now use to backhaul broadband and mobile towers. This opens the door for services in areas such as IoT and edge computing.

There is no need to run duplicate office sites in other cities and towns around New Zealand. Likewise the buildings where servers and telecoms hardware are housed. That can all be tidied up.

A merged business may not need as many customer service or sales staff. There will be roles and teams across the businesses that can be consolidated.

Employees

At the time of the merger 2degrees has 1200 employees, Orcon has a shade under 600. Unless it plans massive investment and expansion, the number of consumer facing employees will fall by the end of 2022.

At the same time, there could be opportunities for others in the business and enterprise space.

None of this will be fast. It will take months for plans to be finished and decisions made.

This could be an exciting time for staff, but alway a worrying one as teams and individuals work out they may soon be out of a job.

A press release issued at the time the merger was finalised suggests the merged business will be a stronger challenger to the two leading brands.

That’s true, but as we’ve seen, the merged business remains dwarfed by Spark and Vodafone. Executives at those two telcos will have spent summer revisiting plans and projections, but may not see a pressing need to change any strategies.

Regulations

What may have changed for the rest of the industry is a tweak to the regulatory landscape.

If Vodafone or Spark had sought to buy 2degrees, that would have set off alarm bells at the Commerce Commission.

Now there is a third substantial player in the market, there may be less objection if, say, the owner of a smaller telco wanted to cash out and Spark or Vodafone wanted to buy.

The test is about whether a move would lessen competition. It would now be harder to argue, say, a Spark takeover of a minnow would change market competition in any meaningful way.

RCG flips switch on Chatham Islands 4G network

The Chatham Islands, one of the most remote communities in New Zealand, is now connected to the rest of the world.  

RCG flips switch on Chatham Islands 4G mobile network

A new 7.5 metre satellite dish and five mobile towers mean Chatham Islanders now have 4G mobile voice and data.

The network was built by the Rural Connectivity Group, a joint project run by Spark, Vodafone and 2degrees. It is part of the second stage of the Rural Broadband Initiative where the RCG is working with Crown Infrastructure Partners. The project was paid for out of the Provincial Growth Fund.

Each of the Chathams Islands towers connects back to the dish by digital microwave connections. RCG says it designed the towers and the island network to take the windswept nature and the salty air of the islands into account. There are multiple paths linking the towers. That means a fault in one place doesn’t take out the entire network.

RCG constructed the satellite dish on Target Hill overlooking the main settlement at Waitangi. It says the new link provides eight times the capacity of the islands’ previous satellite link.

The dish points at the Eutelsat 172B satellite and from there to a ground station at Gateway Teleport in Wellington. This links to a point of interconnect. Up to the POI all the infrastructure is shared by the three RCG partners who all sell services to customers in the Chathams using their normal brands.

2degrees previews 5G in Auckland, Wellington CBDs

While the official launched is planned for the first quarter of the New Year, 2degrees has switched on 5G sites in city CBDs.

Towers in central Auckland and Wellington are now being used for testing and optimisation. The company says the first 5G sites in Christchurch will switch on later this month.

Martin Sharrock, 2degrees’ chief technology officer says early test results have clocked download speeds over 1Gbps. Work has begun in Christchurch with the first 5G sites due online for testing in December.

He says: “We expect to launch the 2degrees 5G network with up to 100 sites on air, and we’ll continue to turn on additional sites throughout 2022 as we build out the network across our main cities.

As 2degrees builds its 5G network it will upgrade 4G sites. Sharrock says for most sites this means there will be double the 4G capacity.

How green is my broadband?

Research commissioned by New Zealand’s fibre wholesalers says theirs is the greenest broadband technology.

Chorus, Enable, Tuatahi First Fibre and Northpower Fibre looked to Sapere Research Group to determine the carbon footprint of broadband technologies. It compared fibre with copper-based VDSL, Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) and 4G and 5G fixed wireless.

Researchers found that an entry-level 50Mbps fibre plan is 41 percent more efficient than copper. It is up to 56 percent more efficient than 4G fixed wireless broadband.

For higher speed plans fibre is as much as 29 percent more efficient than broadband delivered by HFC and up to 77 percent less carbon hungry than 5G fixed wireless.

Fibre does not change its carbon emission profile as speed increases. That’s not the case for other broadband technologies, especially fixed wireless broadband.

Spark, Vodafone, Orcon boost fibre speeds

Three of the most important broadband resellers have signed up to increase customer fibre speeds at no extra cost.

Chorus, Enable and Tuatahi First Fibre, formerly UFF, have all offered to increase speeds for customers on 100Mbps fibre plans to 300Mbps at no extra cost. Upload speeds will also increase.

NorthPower, the fibre company for Whangarei and parts of Northland has not made a similar offer.

To date Spark, Vodafone and Orcon have taken up the offer. Their customers are being upgraded to the faster speeds at the time of writing.

Vodafone HFC Max speeds halve

Average download speeds dropped by around 50 percent on Vodafone’s HFC network.

The latest Measuring Broadband New Zealand report shows speeds average 355 Mbps in the September quarter. This compares with 717 Mbps in the May quarter.

The report says speed tests in the Wellington region negatively impacted the nationwide HFC Max download speed results. Vodafone is investigating the cause of its regional differences. The HFC network is available in Wellington, the Kapiti Coast and Christchurch.

Measuring Broadband New Zealand is a quarterly report prepared for the Commerce Commission by UK-based Sam Knows.

Away from Vodafone’s HFC network, the report shows New Zealand’s broadband performed well during the recent Auckland lockdown. Users in the city did not experience a drop in performance compared with the rest of New Zealand.

Five more years of number portability

The Commerce Commission says number portability will remain in place for another five years. Number portability allows users to keep their landline or mobile number when switching provider,

Telecommunications Commissioner Tristan Gilbertson said that this ability is important for competition because it makes switching easier. This keeps providers on their toes as they have to match rivals’ offers.

The Commerce Commission has to revisit the number portability regime every five years.

Radio Spectrum Management releases draft five year outlook

Radio Spectrum Management has issues a five year outlook which reveals the trends it expect to see between now and 2026. This includes growth in 5G networks and devices along with more IoT and private mobile networks.

RSM’s planning includes the need to free spectrum for 5G networks and other wireless technologies while continuing to deal with the needs to existing spectrum users.

The outlook singles out the 600MHz, 3.3–3.4GHz, 3.4–3.8GHz, 3.8–4.2GHz and 24–30GHz bands as potential spectrum for 5G. It plans to change the way small cell networks are licensed.

Elsewhere there is a focus on the needs to LEO satellite networks and investigating the 6GHz band for Wi-Fi use.

Spark Finance sets up sustainability-linked loans

Spark Finance says it has set up three sustainability-linked loans worth $425 million. The loans will refinance existing loans for the telco’s financial subsidiary.

Sustainability-linked loans reward borrowers with lower interest rates in return for meeting environmental goals. If they fail to meet goals, they pay a higher rate.

In Spark’s case this includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions, moving suppliers to lower emissions and meeting diversity and inclusion goals.

The lenders are Westpac NZ, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and MUFG Bank.

Spark says the loans will be used for general purposes.

Wi-Fi 6 not improving end user experience

A survey of US Wi-Fi users suggests Wi-Fi 6, also known as 802.11ax, does little to improve an end-user’s wireless network experience.

Speedcheck, the broadband speed measuring company, found half of all Wi-Fi users are happy with wireless performance. This only rises by 10 percent if the user has Wi-Fi 6. The numbers are similar when users are asked about reliability.

This puts a fresh perspective on the question of whether you should upgrade to Wi-Fi 6.

New Zealand makes top ten for 5G download speeds

New Zealand users get an average 5G download speed of 240.7Mbps. That puts us in the ninth spot in OpenSignal’s latest global 5G experience table and one place ahead of Australia.

South Korea tops the table with an average download speeds of 423.8Mbps. Taiwan wins when it comes to peak download speeds clocking an impressive 934.9Mbps. Norway has the fastest 5G upload speed at 41.9 Mbps.

In other news…

European telcos want the big technology firms to contribute to network build costs. A letter from The European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO) says the sector expects to spend €300bn building gigabit networks and notes that the big technology firms pay none of the costs, do not have to comply with the same laws as telcos and in many cases don’t even pay tax.

Australia plans legislation forcing social networks to name internet trolls allowing victims to sue for defamation. The move will put social networks on an equal footing with traditional publishers making them liable for defamation even if the offending material is written by a third person.


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Telcowatch shows Spark ahead in mobile

Telecowatch Q3 2021Spark topped New Zealand’s mobile market share in the third quarter of 2021. It has a 36 percent market share, a mere sliver in front of Vodafone which is on 35 percent.

Adding in Spark’s Skinny subsidiary’s 7 percent market share gives Spark a clear lead. Meanwhile 2degrees remains in third place with a 22 percent market share.

Figures from Telcowatch show little in the way of quarter-on-quarter change. If there is any noticeable change it is that Spark has opened the gap with Vodafone.

Telcowatch is a quarterly snapshot of New Zealand’s mobile market based on numbers from Datamine. The company monitors 2.9 million active mobile devices. It does not include machine to machine devices or smart meters.

As noted last year, Telcowatch figures show the New Zealand mobile market is stable with little switching between carriers.