Consumers are getting a reasonable deal from phone and internet providers but are still paying over the odds for mobile broadband, according to the Commerce Commission.
The competition watchdog said telecommunications companies invested $1.69 billion in the year to June 2014, equalling the record set six years ago, despite a 1 per cent drop in industry revenues to $5.17b. Much of the investment was driven by the roll-out of ultrafast broadband (UFB).
Most of the figures in the annual report are based on a survey that is already one year old.
But they suggest Kiwis are paying broadly the same for phone and broadband plans, when compared to people in other developed countries.
Prices ranged from 22 per cent below average to 23 per cent above average, depending on technology and data caps, the commission found.
Consumers were also paying between a third and two thirds less for mobile phone calls and mobile broadband if they took up one of the $9 to $29 monthly deals offered by Spark, Vodafone and 2degrees.
But the price of larger mobile broadband plans was still high, with a six gigabyte monthly plan costing $90 a month, more than double the average among Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development states (OECD) .
That seems right to be. Home broadband plans are pretty well priced now. I have an unlimited data plan for a reasonable cost.
But the cost of a big data mobile plan is still over $100 (including phone plan also).
Broadband users chomped through an average of 32 gigabytes of fixed-line broadband data each month, up from 26Gb the previous year. Average speeds rose from 5.3 megabits per second to 7.3Mbps, achieving parity with Australia but still behind the 11Mbps average in the United States and Britain.
The Commissions reports are online here.
Some interesting stats comparing 2014 to 2008:
- Total telco investment up from $1.2 billion to $1.7 billion a year
- Fixed broadband connections up from 850,000 to 1,390,000
- Average speed up from 2.7 Mb/s to 7.3 Mb/s
- Unbundled phone lines from 3,000 to 131,000
- Fixed call minutes down from 12 billion to 8.25 billion
- Mobile minutes up from 3.7 billion to 5.3 billion