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New Zealand Report Nation’s Growing Telecommunications Demand

New Zealanders are picking wider options in telecommunications, a recent government report detailed. Specifically, the Commerce Commission’s 15th Annual Telecommunications Monitoring Report shows an increasing uptake of uncapped mobile plans and steady increases in fixed and mobile data usage. In addition, the report reveals that the average amount of data used on a fixed-line connection rose from 284 GB to 330 GB per month and from 3.29 GB to 4.21 GB per month for mobile connections.

The report found that better telecommunication systems are the preferred choice. For instance, the number of copper connections dropped by 30% last year. Most consumers coming off copper have moved to fibre, but some are moving to wireless broadband. New Zealand has one of the highest levels of wireless broadband uptake in the OECD, with 15% of broadband connections now using this technology.

Kiwis are enthusiastic adopters of telecommunications technology. In 2021, we have seen that they increasingly expect telecommunication products and services to offer high levels of flexibility alongside functionality and connectivity.

– Tristan Gilbertson, Telecommunications Commissioner, Commerce Commission

The Commerce Commission is the New Zealand government’s business regulator. They enforce competition, fair trading and consumer credit contracts laws. They also have regulatory responsibilities in the electricity lines, gas pipelines, telecommunications, dairy and airport sectors. In line with that work, the commission does a yearly consumer report on telecommunications.

Looking at the telecommunication survey results, the Commerce Commission says New Zealanders are truly switched on when it comes to telecommunications. They know what they want when it comes to telecommunications, and they like new technology and the ability to use it flexibly.

In 2021, there were big jumps in the number of residential and business consumers choosing uncapped endless mobile plans, up 143% and 165% respectively on the previous year. Mobile is moving in the same direction as fixed broadband, where 79% of households are on unlimited data plans.

The year before that, COVID-19 lockdown restrictions were accelerating the growth in fixed broadband data usage, Gilbertson added. While the trend has continued, it has eased this year, with a shift towards products that enable greater flexibility in work, study, play, and stay connected.

Some of the key takeaways of the telecommunication report on the year 2021 include:

  • Mobile roaming revenue continued to fall due to travel restrictions: Ongoing border closures restricting travel have led to total mobile roaming revenue dropping to NZ$ 15.6 million in 2021, down 86% from 2019.
  • The popularity of uncapped mobile plans rose: In 2021, 42% (or 739,000) of residential on-account subscribers purchased uncapped ‘endless’ mobile bundles, up from 18% in 2020. Similarly, 26% (or 348,000) of business on-account subscribers purchased uncapped mobile bundles in 2021, up 10% in 2020.
  • The ongoing trend of customers choosing to move off copper services, combined with the start of formal withdrawal, has seen total copper broadband connections drop 30% to 308,000 in the year to 30 September 2021.

Telecommunications is a key arm of ICT. Increasingly, the migration to more powerful telecommunications systems is a telltale sign of how much the market’s desire for more quality experience is growing at an astronomical pace, largely encouraged by the virus crisis. However, as borders start to ease and lockdowns could be barely used with more and more vaccines available this year, consumer behaviour may change.

Still, New Zealand has been up to the challenge. Its digital transformation has been proceeding at seemingly breakneck speeds. Already, Wellington has eased its borders for talent. That should be a beacon for ICT experts across the land and beyond.

Everyone in the island nation is bound to benefit from the country’s digital adoption. As reported on OpenGov Asia for instance, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a mainstream tool for medical research, pushing the envelope in the treatment of glaucoma.

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