2 May 2012

New Zealanders keen on broadband, mobile devices

7:39 am on 2 May 2012

New Zealanders' appetite for mobile data continues to strengthen as the telecommunications sector becomes more competitive.

The Commerce Commission's fifth annual telecommunications market monitoring report shows industry revenue remained steady at $4.9 billion last year while investment slipped slightly to $1.24 billion.

Telecom's share of the industry's revenue also continues to fall.

Telecommunications Commissioner Ross Patterson says there's been a fall in market concentration in all sectors indicating competition is becoming more intense.

Dr Patterson says consumers are being offered a more-diverse range of competitively priced services, often bundled together in one package.

The number of fixed line connections remains stable, but the number of broadband connections has more than doubled over the last five years, from 480,000 2005/2006 to 1.09 million in 2010/2011.

Mobile connections remained static suggesting the market may have reached saturation, but there has been strong growth in the number of people using mobile devices to access the internet.

Last year, New Zealanders doubled the amount of mobile data they consumed and the average cost of that data decreased substantially.

IDC senior research analyst Glen Saunders attributes the increase to smartphones becoming cheaper and telecommunications companies offering competitive deals on data to lure customers.

But Mr Saunders says the increasing number of companies catering for internet-savvy customers is also helping to drive mobile data use.

He says most New Zealand corporates have strategies to engage with customers through their mobile phones.

He says as well as banks, players like Grab One and TradeMe have their own mobile applications.

"They are starting to see quite a lot of growth coming from that mobile platform .........It's going to be the way of the future for a lot of businesses."

New Zealand ranks 12 out of 34 OECD countries in wireless broadband use, with 54.3 per 100 of population using wireless broadband.