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Vodafone New Zealand Limited is the nation’s second largest telecommunications company. It is owned by Infratil and Brookfield Asset Management.

ComCom final regulatory ruling

Some concessions, but Chorus has not got the final regulatory ruling it wanted from the Commerce Commission. 

ComCom finalises fibre regulations

Chorus will be able to earn a maximum revenues of $690 million next year under new rules set by the Commerce Commission. The maximum will rise to $790 million by 2024 if fibre demand grows as anticipated.

The maximum over three years is $60 million higher than that set in the draft ruling earlier this year, but four percent short of the figure Chorus was looking for.

Much of the wrangling was over something known as the regulatory asset base or RAB. This is, in effect, a measure of the long-term investment made by Chorus to build the fibre network.

Chorus put the figure for its transitional value at $5.5 billion, the Commerce Commission set it at 1.5 percent less. They used a transitional value because not all the information needed to calculate the RAB is available yet. A final figure will be set next year.

Chorus has the right to appeal the price-quality determination that was used to set the maximum profit figure. At the time of writing there is no indication the company will do that.

Yet the company has indicated that the level set by the Commerce Commission means it has little incentive to extend the fibre network beyond its 87 percent footprint without government support.

Investors responded to the final regulatory ruling with a 2.1 percent fall in the Chorus share price on a day the NZX index drifted down 0.7 percent.

Big four to pay development levy bulk

Sky TV will pay the government’s Telecommunications Development Levy for the first time, but the big four telcos continue to pay the lion’s share of the tax on revenue.

As in previous years, Spark’s share of the total is one-third (33 percent). Vodafone pays around a quarter (25.4 percent) while Chorus pays one fifth (20.2 percent) and 2degrees will stump up roughly one tenth or 9.5 percent.

Collectively the four big telcos pay 88 percent of the total. The next largest is Orcon with around a three percent share.

The levy is set at a remarkably precise $10.145 million and is payable by any company earning more than $10 million in telecommunications revenue. It is used to fund public good services that in the past might have been considered the responsibility of a state owned telecoms monopoly.

Softly, softly Google picks up NZ 5G spectrum

Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet is buying a majority stake in Dense Air.

This will, in effect, put Google in control of the 5G spectrum Dense Air leases to Spark.

UK-based Dense Air owns 2.6GHz spectrum in New Zealand Last year it agreed a spectrum swap with Spark which allowed it to hold two adjacent 35MHz blocks. It has 40MHz of 3.5GHz spectrum.

The business operates as a wholesale carrier. It doesn’t compete with carriers but allows them to extend their coverage and reach.

Vodafone upgrades holiday mobile capacity, cans Sure Signal

Vodafone says it completed 42 mobile capacity upgrades during the year to cater for crowds at holiday hotspots. And the company says out will help festival visitors by rolling out its Cows (cellsites on wheels) at popular events.

Meanwhile Vodafone has started closing its Sure Signal Femtocell service which provided a boost to 3G services in areas with limited coverage.

The company says the technology is no longer supported by the telecoms equipment company that sold the hardware.

Sure Signal would route mobile phone calls over broadband connections equipped with the hardware.

There were 8000 Sure Signal users. Vodafone says Rural Connectivity Group sites and WiFi Calling can fill in the gaps, but there have been reports from rural areas of people who will now be left without coverage.

Freeview On Demand heads for the exit

Freeview says it will end its On Demand service late next year. The service was set up to let viewers watch shows from TVNZ, Discovery, Māori TV and RNZ. Earlier this year TVNZ left the service to offer its own on demand product.

When it closes viewers will be able to get the same material, but from each broadcasters respective service, not from a single central one-stop shop.

The move comes a week after Vodafone announced it would close Vodafone TV.

Apple, Google vice-like grip on mobiles

Andrea Coscelli, who heads the UK Competition and Markets Authority (roughly comparable with our Commerce Commission) says Apple and Google have a “vice-like grip” over people’s mobile phones.

Coscelli says the duopoly should be investigated by the proposed new “big tech” regulator planned for the UK.

Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating system are installed on 99.45 percent of all phones used in the UK. It’s unlikely the proportion would be much different in New Zealand.

“Once a consumer buys a phone they are essentially wedded to the ecosystem of one of the two companies – Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play Store and their respective web browsers Safari or Chrome.”

This gives the companies the power to control the content phone users can access.

Broadband equipment sales up 7% year on year

Dell’Oro Group says broadband access equipment sales were up seven percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2021. There was growth in fibre and fixed wireless equipment as operators focus on expanding broadband connectivity.

In other news…

2degrees opens a 200sqm Newmarket flagship store, sorry, “retail concept”, at the Westfield mall. Elsewhere the telco launched a mass SMS marketing tool called Group Text which may test phone users’ patience in the coming weeks.

The New Zealand Herald reports Chorus is moving Auckland staff to Graham Street. It will in the same building as NZME and across the road from Spark.

Auckland-based Soul Machines signed a five-year deal with Microsoft which involves using the company’s Azure cloud service and joint development of new products.

Ingram Micro is to distribute the Moochies Phone Watch. It’s an Australian developed smartwatch for children that lets parents track them using GPS and make video calls.


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Sky cost cutting delivers, Vodafone drops TV

Sky cost cutting delivers profit upgrade

Sky doubled its profit guidance for the 2022 financial year.

The broadcaster, and now broadband service provider, says it has found significant cost savings that won’t impact on the service it provides.

Previously Sky told the market it was on track to make a profit of between $17.5 and $27.5 million this year. That’s been upgraded to between $40 and $48 million, in effect doubling its profit.

The company’s EBITDA, Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation is now expected to climb from $115–130 million to $150–160 million.

Sky’s turnaround follows a company wide cost review. The company expects to save an extra $35 million in operating costs this financial year, this includes $26 million of recurring cost reduction and a $9 million one-off saving.

In future years this will amount to $40 to 45 million of savings each year.

Despite this, Sky says it will deliver more hours of programming.

One area of cost saving was to continue the practice of using local sports commentary for overseas coverage of events. In the past Sky would send its own crew overseas. The company stopped this practice because of Covid, and now plans to continue with it.

Telco complaints fall by a third

The Telecommunications Dispute Resolution service saw a 31 percent drop in enquiries in 2021. Fairway, the business managing the service, received a total of 1940 enquiries.

Billing remains the main cause of concern with customers disputing charges on invoices. Customer serves is the second biggest complaint with users telling the resolution team telcos failed to follow up requests or keep them informed.

There was a huge increase in complaints about service interruption, up 658 percent on a year earlier. Many were about congestion meaning customers did not see expected speeds or about dropped connections.

Fairway says the drop in enquiries was helped by a number of Covid related measures put in place by telcos. These include a moratorium on referring accounts to debt collectors and extended payment terms.

Fewer enquiries meant fewer complaints went through to the formal dispute resolution stage. The service resolved 1961 cases during the year, nearly all of these were dealt with at an early phase.

Customer service tops ComCom todo list

The Commerce Commission says it will prioritise work on improving customer service. The move comes after a Commission poll that found half of all consumers want the regulator to do more to fix poor customer service.

The poll asked consumers for feedback on a range of issues and will be used to help plan the Commission’s work in the telecommunications sector.

Common customer service complaints include long waiting times, multiple transfers and poor record keeping.

Around one in five consumers wants the commission to focus on product disclosure practices and one in ten wants the regulator to look at billing, debt and affordability.

Telecommunications Forum CEO Paul Brislen says the guidance from the Commerce Commission means the industry body can prioritise its work over the next year.

Pulling the plug on Vodafone TV

Vodafone says it plans to switch off its Vodafone TV service. The service will stop on September 30 next year.

The company says it is giving customers nine months notice to help them make a smooth transition to an alternative service.

Vodafone TV launched in 2017 as a joint project with Sky TV. The company says it will now work with Sky to help move its customers across to that company’s services.

It will be interesting to see how the relationship between Vodafone and Sky develops now Sky is a broadband service provider.

Thinxtra, Tether build IoT tools for managing Covid risk

Australian IoT business Thinxtra is working with New Zeland’s Tether to work on projects tackling the Covid risk in public buildings. The pair will use Thinxtra’s low-power wide area network for a system monitoring indoor air quality at places like schools, aged care facilities and commercial buildings.

Aura: Ransomware, not if but when

Research conducted by Aura Information Security, part of Kordia, says 55 percent of New Zealand businesses saw ransomware attacks in the last year.

Two-thirds of those companies managed to fix the problem before significant damage was done. The other third did not.

Hilary Walton, Kordia Group’s chief information security officer says: “Ransomware is a matter of when, not if, for New Zealand businesses. While it’s not a new threat, cybercriminals have perfected the way they target and breach their victim’s networks.”

Opensignal: 5G users seeing fast download speeds

A report from Opensignal says the average download speed for 5G users is 240.7Mbps. This compares with an average of 41.9Mbps for 4G mobile users. This puts New Zealand in the top 15 countries for 5G download speeds.

The report goes to great pains to spell out the performance difference between 5G mobile and Wi-Fi speeds.

It says Wi-Fi is on average 21 percent faster than 4G, while 5G is close to five times the speed of Wi-Fi. Yet Opensignal says games players get much the same experience on 5G and Wi-Fi.

Telcos sponsoring Rugby teams

Tuatahi First Fibre has signed to be a sponsor of the Gallagher Chiefs Rugby Club.

As part of the deal it will become the official broadband fibre infrastructure network for the club. That’s a curious choice of words given TFF is the monopoly fibre infrastructure network in the Hamilton area where the club is located.

The TFF brand will feature on the club’s training jersey.

Meanwhile 2degrees is the sponsor and “exclusive telecommunications partner” of all four Super Rugby Aupiki teams in the woman’s professional club competition.

The telco’s logo will feature on jerseys and on the jersey’s of New Zealand’s five Super Rugby teams where it also has a sponsorship agreement.

‌In case you missed it: In the first part of this week’s RNZ Nine to Noon technology segment I talk to Kathryn Ryan about the work done over the last year to fill in gaps on the telecommunications network.


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

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Vodafone Wi-Fi Calling hits early milestone

It took less than three months for Vodafone Wi-Fi calling to hit 10,000 users. 

Vodafone Wi-Fi Calling hits early milestone

Vodafone says it has 10,000 customers using its Wi-Fi Calling service. It took less than three months to reach that milestone; the service began operating in September.

Wi-Fi Calling lets Vodafone customers make voice calls and send text messages in places where there is no mobile signal but there is Wi-Fi coverage.

This makes it popular in rural areas and also inside buildings where the mobile coverage is weak.

It replaces the older Vodafone Sure Signal service which is due to shut on December 10. Sure Signal is now ten years old. It is based on 3G mobile technology.

This has upset customers in rural areas. A report in the Whanganui Midweek newspaper says Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) is disappointed to hear that Vodafone is closing Sure Signal service. They say it will leave many rural customers without a mobile network.

Sure Signal expanded Vodafone’s network reach into rural New Zealand for a decade. The company says it is less important now thanks to the Rural Connectivity Group towers being installed. These now reach many areas that were previously without mobile coverage.

To use Vodafone Wi-Fi calling customers need a Vodafone mobile account and a compatible phone. There are 46 phones that can handle Wi-Fi Calling. Most are newer models, but the technology can be used on an older iPhone 6S that has the latest iOS 15 installed.

N4L survey finds schools confident protecting students online

Nine out of ten New Zealand schools say they are confident in their ability to protect students online. Despite this, schools face many challenges including access and internet reliability problems.

These are among the findings of a survey of 550 schools commissioned by Network for Learning.

N4L CEO Larrie Moore says the results show schools and kura need support with online safety, remote learning and managing technology. He says that leaves them “free to teach and ākonga are free to learn.”

Close to nine out of ten schools (86 percent) ask students to sign internet use agreements (86%). Almost as many (84 percent) use web filtering. They also bring in guest speakers, host training workshops, and provide other professional development opportunities for teachers to boost their school’s online safety efforts.

Schools say they know students can find ways around filtering technology and that popular websites such as YouTube can display age-inappropriate images and videos. They worry about cyber bullying issues outside of school that can lead to issues in the classroom.

Meanwhile teachers report that it is hard to oversee classroom device use with students able to quickly flick between open tabs when the teacher approaches.

Pandemic school closures highlighted the importance of the internet for learning and the challenges facing schools.

Three quarters said there were problems with access to devices (77 percent). A similar number (73 percent) said students had trouble accessing the internet at home. Almost one in seven (69 percent) reported students saying their home internet connection was unreliable.

Broadband Compare names awards finalists

Winners of the NZ Compare Awards will be announced on February 16. The finalists for the best wireless service provider category are Farmside, Gravity Internet and Wireless Nation. The shortlist in the value broadband category are 2degrees, Contact Energy, Now Broadband, Flip and Sky Broadband.

Farmside, Gravity Internet, Lightwire and Woi Satellite Internet make up the finalist for the best rural service provider award.

Now Broadband, Orcon and Sky Broadband are the shortlist for the best fibre service provider category.

Kacific introduces mobile backhaul for Pacific

Kacific has introduced a satellite backhaul product for mobile operators, ISPs and telcos in South-East Asia and the Pacific. The service covers 25 countries including New Zealand and Pacific island nations. Speeds are up to 200Mbps.

Opposition launches tech policy process

Hours before former opposition leader Judith Collins was removed from her job, she launched a tech policy paper which may yet be lost in the party turmoil.

Collins’ original aim was to hold a tech summit early in the New Year.

One idea in the paper is to extend the reach of the UFB network to 90 percent of the population and to make sure every New Zealander can get broadband speeds of at least 100Mbps.

Australia’s Treasury moves on Consumer Data Right

As expected, Australia’s Treasury has proposed extending the country’s Consumer Data Right to cover the telecommunications sector.

The move means retail telcos will have to hand over key information to customers allowing them to make better choices about the products and services they buy.

It would also allow customers to ask retailers to give the data to rival retailers. That way, they could make improved offers to those customers.

These moves echo ideas outlined for New Zealand by Telecommunications Commissioner Tristan Gilbertson.

Kate McKenzie to chair NBN Co

Former Chorus CEO Kate McKenzie will take over the chair at Australia’s NBN Co in January. She will replace Ziggy Switkowski who is stepping down after eight years in the role. McKenzie was a Telstra executive before joining Chorus.

Warren Williams joins REANNZ board

Dr Warren Williams, CEO of the 20/20 Trust has joined the REANNZ board. REANNZ Chair Janine Smith says he has contributed to the sector through his involvement in Vision Mātauranga and Te Mana Raraunga – Māori Data Sovereignty Network.

In other news…

CommsDay reports the US National Science Foundation is looking at building a submarine cable connecting New Zealand’s South Island to McMurdo Station in Antarctica.

Spark Sport has picked up the rights for FIBA (International Basketball Federation) competitions through to 2025.

Gartner says worldwide phone sales dropped 6.8 percent in the third quarter of 2021. The research company puts that down to component shortages and lack of availability, not falling demand.

New Zealand organisations are spending more on software. A report from IDC says spending on software is up 20 percent year-on-year. The biggest gainer is conferencing and team collaboration software.


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

All it requires is an email address. Your address is only used to send out the newsletter. It will not be sold to anyone.

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Hawaiki Nui to connect South Island

Hawaiki has revealed plans for a new submarine cable linking Asia, Australia and the South Island to the US.

Hawaiki plans Asia, US, South Island cable

Auckland-based submarine cable operator Hawaiki says a new 22,000km cable linking South-East Asia, Australia and the US will include connections to New Zealand’s South Island.

Construction is due to start next year and the new cable should be in business by 2025. Hawaiki Nui will have a 240Tbps capacity.

The main hubs will be in Singapore, Sydney and Los Angeles. It will have landings in Jakarta and Batam in Indonesia. In New Zealand there will be direct links to Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill.

Further landings are planned for Melbourne, Brisbane and Darwin. Remi Galasso who founded the cable business and is now executive chairman says “Hawaiki Nui has been designed to deliver direct connectivity through new subsea paths and provide optimal diversity.”

One beneficiary of this is Galasso’s new venture, Datagrid, a planned hyperscale data centre being built near Invercargill in the South Island.

Vodafone Data Centre Connect debuts

A week after rebranding, Vodafone Infrastructure Partners is offering high-speed fibre links to data centre operators. Wholesale customers can buy 100G, 200G and 400G wavelength services for direct connection between data centres.

Vodafone says the service is offered in collaboration with Ciena and is based on Colourless-Directionless-Contentionless (CDC) and flexible grid optical multiplexers. “The network platforms provide the highest degree of agility and flexibility with the ability to send any service anywhere in the network, dynamically.”

Kacific extends reach with consumer terminals

Regional satellite operator Kacific says it will use ST Engineering iDirect’s Mx-DMA Multi-Resolution Coding technology for terminals to support the Kacific1 Ka-band satellite serving the Pacific and Southeast Asia.

Kacific says this will help it reach underserved customers. Mx-DMA MRC is a patented multi-access waveform. It combines the scalability of MF-TDMA with the efficiency of single channel per carrier (SCPC) into a single return technology.

This allows Kacific to scale services while simplifying operations by optimising the network bandwidth in real-time. Mx-DMA MRC uses self-organising frequency plans for network planning. That way there is no need for upfront traffic characterisation or pre-configuration.

Kacific operates more than 8,000 terminals, including the new MDM2010 modems in Mx-DMA MRC mode, spread across 56 beams.

Ultrafast Fibre now Tuatahi First Fibre

Hamilton-based Ultrafast Fibre Limited is rebranding as Tuatahi First Fibre. The name is a curious tautology; the Te Reo word tuatahi means first in English.

2degrees survey documents the obvious

The latest Shaping Business Study from 2degrees confirms what most of us have known for months: that technology, digital skills and access are needed for businesses to continue operating in a post-Covid world.

According to the survey 35 percent of New Zealand businesses identify flexibility to work from home as important to getting back on track. A quarter say digital skills and access are important. It would be interesting to know more about the companies who don’t think these things are important.

Vodafone finishes Amazon Connect cloud project

It took a year, but now Vodafone has finished implementing the Amazon Connect cloud contact centre. It brings together all the telco’s contact centres and customer channels under a single umbrella. More than 1500 staff and partners use the contact centre to deal with around a million customer requests each month.

In other news…

At the IT Professional’s Techblog Peter Griffin says “During Covid we turned to video games to stay entertained – and connected”. He says 3.7 million New Zealanders played video games for an average of 81 minutes a day last year. Reseller New’s Rob O’Neill reports on plans by the GCSB cyber security unit to expand its protection to cover more organisations. It aims to do this by forming partnerships the private sector. Ventia, formerly known as Visionstream is going ahead with a $1 billion listing on the NZX and ASX reports The New Zealand Herald.

Gartner: NZ comms sector left behind

Gartner analysts say the New Zealand tech sector looks bright for everyone except communications services. 

NZ Comms sector left behind as IT spending surges

Gartner’s latest forecast says spending on New Zealand information technology will grow 6.7 percent next year. The forecast growth will be uneven. Gartner forecasts spending on enterprise software and devices will grow over 10 percent. Meanwhile spending on communications services will be flat; growing 1 percent. Next year Gartner forecasts the total IT spend to rise to $14.7 billion. That’s up from $13.8 billion in 2021.

Sideways

Spending on communications services will move sideways from $4.16 billion in 2021 to $4.2 billion. This is the largest segment. All the other segments will grow. Spending on data centre systems will climb 5.2 percent from $362 million to $381 million. Gartner says this reflects the shift from on premise computing to the cloud. IT services spending will grow 6 percent from $4.1 billion to $4.4 billion. This will take it past spending on communications services for the first time. This category includes managed services, consulting, and cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS).

Enterprise software

Enterprise software continues to see rapid progress. Last year it grew 13.1 percent from $2.7 billion to a shade under $3 billion. This year Gartner forecasts 10.8 percent growth to a little under $3.5 billion. In 2021 spending on devices, for the most part that’s PCs and tablets, was up 6.1 percent. Remote work and learning drive growth. Gartner sees that continuing over the next year. Enterprises will upgrade devices and spend on new hardware to help employees with remote or hybrid working. The total installed base of PCs in New Zealand grew by 30% in 2020 and a further 18% growth is forecast for this year.

Vodafone relaunches wholesale unit as VIP

Vodafone has relaunched its wholesale division. Now branded as Vodafone Infrastructure Partners or VIP the unit will sell fixed and mobile services along with a range of specialist products and services. This will include options for mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) and the Internet of Things (IoT)

Tony Baird, the company’s wholesale and infrastructure director says Vodafon.e already works with more than 100 partners including “international carriers, hyperscale operators, managed service providers (MSPs), greenfield property developers and iwi businesses”.

There’s a clear emphasis on iwi partnerships. Baird says: “As part of Whārikihia, our business-wide Māori development strategy, we want to partner with Māori business and iwi on customised infrastructure solutions and collaborate to create long-term value. Our approach is summed up in our tagline, Tūhono ki te Paerangi, which means connecting to the horizon.” 

He says the company sees a lot of opportunity for growth, 

Murray Osborne, a ten year Vodafone veteran, who in the past lead the public sector team will head VIP. 

Opensignal flags Vodafone as fastest 5G

While there’s little between them in five out six 5G experience categories, downloads are faster on Vodafone’s network. The 2021 5G Experience Report from Opensignal clocks downloads on Vodafone’s network at 275.6Mbps. Users on Spark’s 5G network see download speeds of 157Mbps. Upload speeds are the same, 18.9–21.3Mbps on both networks. These speeds put New Zealand in the top 15 countries around the world for 5G speed. We are one place behind Australia. Opensignal says there is “no significant difference in users’ experience” when playing videos, gaming or using voice applications. Likewise there is nothing between the two when it comes to network availability. The company’s researchers made measurements over 90 days from the start of July 2021.

Chorus: NZ in broadband top 10 next year

Chorus says its planned upgrade will propel New Zealand into the top ten countries for broadband speed by early next year. The wholesale fibre company is offering to upgrade 100Mbps consumer connections to 300Mbps. Upload speeds will climb from 20Mbps to 100Mbps. Some business fibre plans will move to 500Mbps up and down. Modelling shows the average download speed after the upgrade will be around 230Mbps. It’s up to broadband retailers how they handle the speed upgrades. Chorus says it hopes most customers will see the benefit before the end of the year.

Chorus goal: 1 million fibre connections in ’22

CEO JB Rousselot says Chorus aims to have a million fibre connections on its network by the end of 2022. In a presentation at the annual general meeting on Wednesday Rousselot says Chorus hit 900,000 connections earlier in the week. Uptake in fibre areas is 66 percent. The company added 23,000 connections in the recent quarter despite Covid restrictions. Since then fibre connection activity has returned to pre-lockdown levels.

Small business under attack as security breaches double in three years

Research carried out for HP says more than half (54 percent) of New Zealand small businesses saw online crime in 2021. Attacks are now at twice the level reported in the previous 2018 survey. HP says the average cost of an attack is $159,000. With a large number of employees working from home there are new vulnerabilities. Half (49 percent) of the respondents say outdated software is a significant security threat. Almost as many put the blame on their workers: 44 percent of respondents identified employee carelessness as a threat. HP doesn’t say so, but this suggests companies need more security training.

In other news…

Australia’s Telstra plans to buy Digicel Pacific for US$1.6 billion. The deal os backed by the Australian government. China Mobile was a potential buyer for the regional mobile operator. The move is as much political as commercial.

At Reseller News, Rob O’Neill reports Spark-owned distributor Telegistics has a new brand. From today it is Entelar.

CommsDay reports Sydney and Auckland are among the most expensive datacentre locations. Auckland is cheaper than Sydney but both are a long way behind cities like Singapore.

At The Register Simon Sharwood writes: China Telecom booted out of USA as Feds worry it could disrupt or spy on local networks. He says: The FCC now believes – partly based on classified advice from national security agencies – that China Telecom can “access, store, disrupt, and/or misroute US communications, which in turn allow them to engage in espionage and other harmful activities against the United States.”


 

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

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IDC says telco recovery will be slow

Telco sector revenues were flat last year. IDC forecasts a slow recovery.

IDC: Telco recovery will be slow

IDC says telecommunications sector revenue was flat last year despite the impact of the Covid pandemic. Across the sector revenues for connectivity services declined 0.1 percent in the year to June 2021.

The research company forecasts a slow post-Covid recovery. It expects a compound annual growth rate of 1.6 percent between now and 2025.

IDC says future growth will be “driven by forecast improvements in mobile service revenue and broadband despite declines in legacy voice, fixed data and access revenue.

“As Covid related restrictions ease IDC foresees a greater level of normalcy for the industry will resume beyond mid-2022.”

Monica Collier, IDC Associate Research director says the industry is reinventing itself after the pandemic with a fast-evolving shift in strategies. She sees an increased focus on collaboration, partnering and investment.

“There is increasing activity around joint ventures, partnerships, infrastructure sharing, increasing network utilisation and new investment opportunities. The industry has historically seen assets such as network infrastructure as a competitive differentiator, but it is now eyeballing the wider opportunities available,” she says.

IDC notes the increasing role of non-traditional players in the sector. Senior market analyst telecommunications, Wiji Gedera says “Sky’s recent broadband market entry is another in a line of broadband entrants from other industries. These non-traditional participants are all about churn reduction and they aren’t feeling the margin pinch like the telco retailers”

Starlink would be another non-traditional retailer.

Collier says she expects to see fresh thinking and different perspective from these competitors and that will keep the New Zealand market on its toes.

High Court rules on broadcasters paying TDL

A new High Court judgement could see broadcasters contributing to the $10 million annual Telecommunications Development Levy.

The TDL is, in effect, a tax on larger telecommunications companies. Each pays a proportion depending on their share of the market. Adding broadcasters to the list of payers will reduce the cost to telcos.

The 2018 amendments to the Telecommunications Act removed the exemption for broadcasting from the definition of telecommunications. The Commerce Commission took Optus, Kordia, Sky TV and TVNZ to the High Court which has agreed their networks can be used for telecommunications.

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.

Orcon broadband free to Covid-hit businesses

Orcon is offering six months free broadband to companies hit by a downturn in business due to the Covid pandemic. The deal is worth about $500 to each company. Orcon says it is contract-free, obligation-free and available now. The offer is open to any small business which has qualified for the Resurgence Support Payment, Wage Subsidy or Small Business Cash Flow Loan Scheme.

Vodafone expands mobile coverage

Vodafone says it added seven new mobile sites during September. It added three Rural Connectivity Group sites to its network and upgraded 10 existing sites. In the same period it added CAT-M1 IoT technology to 263 RCG towers.

The new towers were mainly in the Bay of Plenty covering Te Puke South, Kawerau Town, Whakatane North West, Ohope Beach Central and

Opotiki Town. Elsewhere there are new towers at Massey University’s main campus in Palmerston North and at Kuriwao Hill in Southland.

Skinny offers six months free broadband

In a bid to woo new business, Spark’s Skinny subsidiary is offering six months free broadband for anyone signing for a 12-month contract.

TCF trumpets price falls as inflation leaps

Statistics NZ released figures on Monday showing inflation hit 4.9 percent in the recent quarter. That’s the highest rate in a decade.

A press release from the Telecommunications Forum timed to coincide with the figures shows prices in the telecommunications sector are heading in the opposite direction.

In the last year prices for telecommunications equipment has dropped 2.6 percent while prices for services have fallen 0.9 percent. In the last decade equipment prices have fallen 18 percent while service costs are down 10 percent.

In other news…

A report from Spark’s Qrious unit examines the state of artificial intelligence in New Zealand. It warns that four out of five organisations have not reached what it calls “AI maturity” and risk being left behind.

Microsoft has awarded Vodafone NZ its Gold security competency status. That’s a way of showing the telco is prepared to help Kiwi companies stay safe online.
The NZ Herald reports Air New Zealand customers have been on the wrong end of email scams involving Airpoints.

Apple launched new MacBook Pro models.

Auckland-based network business Fastcom has acquired IT services provider Sietec NZ and its subsidiaries.

Katherine Hayward is Vodafone’s new head of customer experience. She was recently at Bank of New Zealand.