The streaming music provider Spotify is set to launch in New Zealand – but will any of the major ISPs provide unmetered access to the service?
Spotify provides streaming music with an average bitrate of 160 Kbps (although 90 Kbps, and 360 Kbps are also available). If played for two hours every day for a month this would consume around 4 GB of data.
Computerworld has approached New Zealand telcos to ask if they plan to zero-rate data from Spotify, or other streaming media services like Rdio and Grooveshark. Below are their responses.
Orcon head of communications Quentin Reade says the company was approached by Spotify a few months ago to talk about zero-rated data and the general state of New Zealand's broadband internet.
These talks were informal, and since the initial conversations Spotify has not come back to Orcon with a final launch date for New Zealand, says Reade.
Orcon is the content delivery network (CDN) for e-cast and iSky, which is provided to Sky TV customers unmetered over the Orcon network.
Reade says that Orcon is looking to provide more unmetered services in the near future, and is actively seeking content providers in New Zealand to partner with.
"We would love to offer Spotify or other streaming services unmetered in much the same way as we do with iSky," says Reade.
According to Reade, Orcon has spoken to two streaming media services about zero-rated data. He says there are up to eight similar services which are planning to launch in New Zealand in the near future. Due to commercial sensitivities, Reade was unable to disclose what those services were or how much involvement Orcon would have with their launches.
Mark Callander, CEO of Slingshot, says the ISP has had discussions with Spotify, but no final decisions were reached regarding services or launch dates.
He adds that Slingshot will be engaging with Spotify to be a part of its plans in New Zealand.
"Slingshot would be prepared to support Spotify and unmeter the traffic as it does for other content services such as iSky," says Callander.
Maxnet has not been approached by Spotify, but similar streaming services will help Maxnet differentiate itself from other ISPs says Andrew Shick, head of internet services.
"Their [Spotify's] arrival will put pressure on some of the lower cost ISPs to deliver a consistent customer service," says Schick.
"Our recent upgrades to our ISP platform have been designed around this type of 'real-time use', and [the platform] is well positioned for the 'internet generation' who expect this type of service to just work all day, every day."
Last week, Maxnet announced an unlimited broadband plan for $100 per month.
When asked if Maxnet would be providing any Ultra Fast Broadband retail pricing plans in the near future, Schick said the company was "finalising" but did not want to "rush" its announcement, taking a dig at competitor Orcon.
"We didn't want to be the first, but not be able to deliver. We want to do it right, unlike some of our competitors," says Schick.
Vodafone does not have any current plans to zero-rate Spotify services, but this is definitely under consideration says a spokesperson.
Telecom's chief marketing officer Jason Paris says he is excited about the upcoming launch of Spotify in New Zealand, but is unable to go into details about any conversations that may have occurred with Spotify.
A spokesman for the company says it is unable to comment on any possible discussions with Spotify.
A 2degrees spokesperson says, "We don’t announce products or services before we’re ready to launch them."
Skinny (which is an offshoot of Telecom) has not yet responded to Computerworld enquiries.
Spotify streams a catalogue of 15 million songs for a monthly fee, or a limited catalogue for free with advertising. Last year Computerworld reported Spotify would launch in New Zealand in early 2012, going on reports from music industry blog Digital Music News which said the service was likely to launch here in February.
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