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NZ telco retail revenue falls NZ$350m in 2 years

Fibre rollout is the big money maker in the New Zealand telecommunications industry, a market monitoring report from the country's Commerce Commission has found.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The New Zealand Commerce Commission revealed on Monday that telecommunications retail revenue for the 2013-14 financial year in the country sat at NZ$5.17 billion, a NZ$40 million decline from last year, and NZ$350 million less than the peak reached in 2011-12.

Whilst retail revenue took a beating, the total telecommunications investment increased by NZ$110 million from last year, back to NZ$1.69 billion, equal to where it sat back in 2007-08. The annual telecommunications market monitoring report attributed the majority of this spending to the continued rollout of Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) across the nation, with the federal government recently reporting that as of March 31, 2015, the number of UFB connections exceeded 85,000, with fibre having passed more than 618,000 premises.

At the same time that the commission's report was under way, one of New Zealand's major telco players, Spark, launched its own campaign to help explain to consumers what makes up the cost of its broadband. The Be Counted campaign was visited by more than 50,000 people, the company said, with many sending a submission onto the commission asking it to reduce wholesale charges for broadband.

Spark's general manager of corporate relations Andrew Pirie said that whilst retail prices have been reducing during the past few years, the Commerce Commission is looking to push already high wholesale charges up even higher.

"New Zealand's internet isn't as affordable as it could be. Around half of the average customer's bill goes to paying the wholesale charges," Pirie said.

In the wake of the commission's report, Spark has also announced that it has laid the foundation for a more "flexible, fully digital future network", paving the way for new services such as high-definition voice and video calls over LTE (VoLTE). Spark has rolled out its 4G data service in more than 70 cities, towns, and other locations throughout New Zealand.

"Mobile technology is continually changing, and our network needs to handle not just what is possible today, but what our customers will demand in the future. VoLTE is another big step on that journey. Our future digital network will unleash the potential of people's devices like never before," the company said in a statement earlier on Tuesday.

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