29 Apr 2013

Demand for broadband data doubles

10:12 pm on 29 April 2013

The Commerce Commission says New Zealanders almost doubled their use of data on devices such as smartphones for a second successive year.

Telecommunications Commissioner Stephen Gale says mobile revenues rose more than 11% to $2.38 billion in the year to June 2012 - a stronger increase than in any recent years.

Dr Gale says the use of fixed broadband data also doubled, with the average amount of data traffic per user last year at 19 gigabytes a month.

In its annual report on the sector, the commission says people are using their phone less for calling others and more for retrieving data from the internet.

Dr Gale says more people have broadband at home, and use smartphones and other mobile devices. In contrast, people are using their phone less for making voice calls, favouring texts instead.

In the mobile market, Dr Gale says, the market shares of the major players are moving closer together as Vodafone and Telecom lose share, while 2degrees gains.

Vodafone commanded 42% of the market on a connections basis at 30 June last year, while Telecom had 37% and 2degrees controlled 20% of the market.

Total retail revenues rose slightly in the past two years to reach $5.22 billion, after several years of minimal growth. Mobile retail revenue rose 11% to $2.4 billion, while fixed line sales declined 2% to $2.8 billion.

Dr Gale says revenue growth has tended to be well behind inflation so, with increasing data use, consumers are getting more for their money.

He says competition remains healthy, with Telecom, Vodafone and 2degrees all offering consumers more voice minutes, texts and data for the same amount of money.

The largest players are also losing market share in the fixed line broadband and the fixed line voice markets.