This report provides an overview of the New Zealand telecoms market as its moves into 2015, with analysis on a range of market developments, including digital TV and the digital economy, the mobile and broadband markets, recent regulatory measures, and the progress of the UFB.
Researchers: Henry Lancaster
Current publication date:- January 2015 (18th Edition)
UFB connecting over half a million homes while industry pushes for universal 1Gb/s service
New Zealand’s Ultra-Fast Broadband/Rural Broadband Initiative (UFB/RBI) is continuing to make steady progress. This significant infrastructure development, scheduled to be completed by about 2020, will provide the necessary network capabilities to propel the country’s digital economy, enabling key sectors such as e-government, e-commerce and digital media to flourish across the country. By late 2014 about 536,000 premises were connected to the UFB, with some 55,000 premises having signed up for services. About 1.2 million premises will be connected when the project is complete. Rolling out the UFB, undertaken by Chorus and other local operators, has helped to drive investment in telecom infrastructure, which increased from $1.24 billion in 2010/11 to $1.58 billion in 2012/13, before falling to $1.48 billion in 2013/14.
New Zealand has experience steady growth in fixed broadband penetration in recent years. The overall number of broadband subscribers grew by just under 10% in 2013, maintaining the momentum seen since 2010. The principal growth areas have been in the mobile broadband and fibre sectors. The number of fibre subscribers will continue to increase substantially over the coming years as the ultra-fast broadband service for urban dwellers sees increased uptake among consumers.
The uptake of mobile broadband has been bolstered by the expansion of mobile technologies based on LTE, offered by all three network operators. It has also been supported by the RBI rollout, which will add a number of mobile cell sites to rural areas. By late 2014 Vodafone NZ reported that more than 500,000 subscribers were on its LTE-enabled plans, and that LTE-capable devices accounted for a third of all device sales during the previous 12 months.
New Zealand’s mobile market continues to undergo significant developments. Mobile penetration, at around 120-125%, is growing steadily as operators provide add-on packs attracting increased usage at a lower cost. The award of digital dividend spectrum has placed 2degrees at some disadvantage, given that it can make use of only half of the 700MHz allocation secured by Spark. Competition among players has also driven down prices, while a range of messaging OTT services have lowered the volume SMS and MMS traffic, and with it the revenue derived from MNOs. At the same time, operators are having to adapt their business models and invest in network upgrades to keep pace with growing consumer demand for mobile data services.
- Spark secures the remaining spectrum block in the 700MHz band,
- expands the reach of LTE,
- signs MoU with Huawei to upgrade its 3G network and provide CA technology; Vodafone sees slight rise in customer base,
- doubles data allowance for RBI customers; Census showing continuing shift from landline telephone to mobile; Dunedin named as New Zealand’s ‘Gigatown’; Vocus Communications acquires FX Networks,
- secures Spark’s 10% interest in the Sea-Me-We 3 Perth-Asia cable; Orcon sold to CallPlus; Northpower Fibre completes fibre network build,
- passing over 19,000 premises; Google trials high-altitude balloon-based WiFi; 50GB data plans adopted by half of all broadband subscribers; fibre broadband connections increased 90% in the year to June 2014; report includes ComCom’s 2013 Monitoring Report,
- Statistics New Zealand data to June 2014,
- operator data updates,
- recent market developments.
Companies mentioned in this report:
Vodafone New Zealand, Spark New Zealand, 2degrees, Skinny, Clear Mobitel, TelstraClear, Black+White, CallPlus, Compass, Gemalto, Orcon, Paymark, Trade Me, TVNZ, Fairfax, Groupon, Ziln TV, CallPlus, CityLink, Vector, TelstraClear, Fyx, NOW, Airnet, WorldxChange Communications, , Maxnet, Vocus, CFH, Enable, Ericsson, WEL, Huawei, Northpower, Velocity Networks, Snap.
Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year