9 Nov 2010

Phone, internet costs still high for some NZ users

1:12 pm on 9 November 2010

The Commerce Commission has found phone and internet costs in New Zealand are still higher than services in other countries.

In some cases, mobile broadband is almost triple the cost of that in Sweden.

The price of broadband for low and medium users has been found to be in line with four other countries the commission looked at - Britain, Norway, Australia and Sweden.

But a benchmark report says high-end users face significantly higher prices compared with other similarly developed nations.

It says New Zealand's isolation and the cost of bandwidth is often used to explain this country's higher prices.

But the report says Australia faces similar issues and prices are significantly cheaper there for high-end users.

The commission's Telecommunications Commissioner Ross Patterson says New Zealand is 31% more expensive than Australia for high-end, fixed-line broadband usage.

"Data pricing and international prices have been falling. It would appear that at retail those benefits haven't yet passed through to New Zealand consumers as quickly as they have in other jurisdictions."

The report also finds customers making few phone calls each month on fixed lines are paying the highest line rental in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

It says such customers are effectively subsidising those making a large number of calls.