Trans-Tasman roaming costs prohibitive for most businesses: survey

ICT Minister says investigation into mobile roaming will go ahead despite operators reducing fees

The cost of trans-Tasman mobile data roaming is prohibitive for four out of five New Zealand businesses surveyed by the Ministry of Economic Development, says ICT Minister Steven Joyce.

The survey of 534 New Zealanders travelling to Australia was conducted between July 2010 and January 2011. Of those responses 253 were individuals, 116 Small Medium Enterprises and 165 large corporates.

In a statement announcing the survey results, Joyce says one of the survey’s most significant findings was that businesses impose limits on staff wanting access the internet using their smartphones, laptops and tablets when in Australia on business.

“I am concerned at the number of business respondents who indicated that, because of the cost, they encourage staff to use data roaming only if they really need to,” says Joyce.

The survey also shows that most businesses encourage staff to minimise calling and texting when in Australia.

Joyce says that although the results have been publicly released today, they helped inform the decision taken by the New Zealand and Australian governments to conduct a joint investigation into whether regulatory intervention is required in the trans-Tasman roaming market. That joint investigation was announced by Joyce at the KANZ Broadband Summit on April 28 (see Joyce's speech notes here).

He says that despite operators reducing trans-Tasman roaming fees recently, the joint investigation will go ahead.

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