Telecom is not making any commitment to deliver mobile services that would boost New Zealand’s OECD rankings, despite suggestions from Vodafone that its services could reach the top half of the OECD rankings as early as next year.
Phil Patel, Vodafone’s chief marketing officer, says Vodafone’s commitment is to deliver services in the top half of the OECD rankings by 2010, but based on plans introduced last month and others to come before the next OECD survey, Vodafone hopes to be in the top half by the end of this financial year.
“The challenge for benchmarking surveys is whilst we bring pricing down so too are all the other countries, so there will be a lot of back and forwards as we go but we are focused on moving up,” Patel says.
Telecom spokesman Mark Watts says Telecom is focused on “improving services for customers” and the OECD figures are much used and abused.
Communications Minister David Cunliffe says Vodafone’s stated commitment to deliver services in line with the top half of the OECD by 2010 is not a formal undertaking in terms of the Telecommunications Act.
“Vodafone’s voluntary commitment is nevertheless taken to represent a serious statement of their intent on their part to the market,” he told Computerworld.
“While neither myself or officials sought such a commitment from Vodafone, it is pleasing to note Vodafone’s objective to improve its services and prices for the benefit of consumers.”
Cunliffe says it is worth noting that Telecom has in the past set voluntary targets relating to wholesale broadband sales and were held to account for meeting these by the media. “I am not aware of Telecom setting similar targets for its mobile services,” he says.
Patel says the OECD survey does not include many of what Vodafone calls its “new value innovations” which, he says, would lift the company’s ranking dramatically. He says the BestMates deal, which gives customers the ability to make unlimited calls/txts/pxts to up to three numbers, is not included in OECD’s rankings along with a number of other plans.
“We continue to state publicly we are committed to improving our OECD position and we have delivered. Vodafone’s voice prices have fallen 30% in the last year and our Prepay costs are below the average of the Vodafone businesses around the world,” he says.