New Zealand telecoms reforms are forging ahead. At least for a moment the developments have shifted from the fixed network (UFB developments) to the mobile market. Telecom’s mobile network problems seem to have settled down, but the focus has shifted to issues such as termination, on-net pricing and (trans-Tasman) roaming.
However, the mobile and fixed markets are closely interrelated and developments in one sector also have far reaching consequences. Industry leadership is going to be a critical issue in both markets. Telecom is facing very serious challenges in relation to structural separation and the role it can play in the Ultra-Fast Broadband Network. With increased regulatory pressure, the dominant player in the mobile market, Vodafone, will also have to start preparing for a much tougher future.
TelstraClear and the other 2nd tier players will face challenges of their own, but TelstraClear in particular will also have to make up their mind what they want to do in New Zealand, they are half pregnant in the facilities-based market and it will be interesting to see if the parent company in Australia is interested to limit the activities in the retail space.
There is great potential for merger and acquisitions in the market and this could also bring back overseas investments in the market. One thing is for certain New Zealand is forging ahead in leading telecoms transformation far beyond where others dare to venture.