The Commerce Commission has delivered its fifth quarterly telecommunications monitoring report, for the first time benchmarking Vodafone’s fixed line residential phone plans and its home phone plus national plan that uses its mobile network.
However, the report notes that the mobile plans benchmarked have not changed in price over the last year and continue to rank in the bottom quartile of the 30 OECD countries surveyed.
Telecom outrated Vodafone in the low user basket for mobile services, while Vodafone headed its major rival in the medium and high user baskets.
Vodafone’s Home phone plus national plan is the cheapest New Zealand landline offering in the OECD’s medium user basket, ranked 18 out of 30 on the OECD measure. TelstraClear’s plans are the cheapest New Zealand plans in the OECD’s low user (20/30) and higher user (16/30) baskets.
The Commission says it will benchmark Vodafone’s new home phone plus local plan in its June quarterly report.
The Commission continued its feud with Vodafone over the company's You Choose base plans, which it found are not generally available or sold to customers. "Given these findings, and in light of Vodafone’s refusal to disclose to the Commission the number of customers on the Base plans, the Commission stated in a reply to Vodafone that it intended to continue to exclude the You Choose Base Plans from its 2008 monitoring reports," it says.
However, that position is being reconsidered.
"In May 2008, Vodafone made changes to its website to make the You Choose Base plans more accessible, and to allow customers to be able to subscribe to them over the internet without having to visit a retail outlet," its report says.
"The Commission is, therefore, reconsidering its position, and if it is satisfied that the Base plans are readily accessible, it will include them in the June quarterly monitoring report."
The report says the OECD estimated there to be 18.3 broadband subscribers per 100 population in New Zealand (92% of the OECD average) to give New Zealand a rank of 19 out of 30.
This compares to the OECD estimate of 14 broadband subscribers per 100 for December 2006 (77% of OECD average) and a rank of 21.
New Zealand ranked sixth in the OECD for broadband growth in 2006-07.