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NZ telcos told to create marketing code by ComCom to reduce customer confusion

New Zealand Telecommunications Forum given 60 working days to create a binding code.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor
Image: Chris Duckett/ZDNet

The New Zealand Commerce Commission (ComCom) has directed the local telco industry to create a marketing code to reduce customer confusion. The Commission said the code was needed due to Chorus withdrawing copper services and Spark pulling its public switched telephone network connections.

The New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (TCF) has been given 60 working days to develop a binding code that will give users "sufficient notice" of any copper service change, that customers will know about the "full range" of alternative services including those from other providers, and information on how alternative services would perform.

Users need to be told "actual peak" speeds and not the theoretical maximums of a connection technology.

"Consumers have told us that marketing of alternatives to legacy copper-based services is often incomplete, confusing or misleading," Telecommunications Commissioner Tristan Gilbertson said. "Providers have also contacted us with concerns about their competitors' behaviour."

"While we have given the TCF 60 working days to create an industry code, we expect providers to bring their marketing into line with these guidelines as soon as possible, so that consumers can make an informed choice about the technologies and plans that are best for their telecommunications needs."

In August, Gilbertson published a letter asking for industry views to address the confusion issue.

"We have examples of people being told they need to move now because Chorus and Spark are in the process of withdrawing their copper or PSTN service when withdrawal isn't even scheduled yet, and marketing materials are making claims about the performance of alternative technologies that don't reflect real-world performance," he said at the time.

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