Anonymous mobile survey excludes carriers

MED poll on mobile roaming is part of joint initiative with Australia

The Ministry of Economic Development is using the TUANZ database to poll corporate users, seeking anonymous responses to a survey on mobile roaming.

The survey is part of research being undertaken by the MED into mobile roaming for ICT Minister Steven Joyce. The Minister is working with Australian Senator Stephen Conroy on the issue of trans-Tasman roaming and will use the MED’s research to decide whether a full investigation is required.

MED spokesperson Tracy Dillimore says the TUANZ survey is specifically for large corporate customers. As most respondents will be customers of mobile operators, anonymity is essential to “ensuring that respondents feel free to answer the questions honestly”.

So if the survey is anonymous, how will the MED know the answers are genuine?

“Anonymity does bring a risk that a stakeholder may seek to skew the results by responding in a particular manner,” Dillimore says via email. “However, the Ministry took steps to manage the risk”.

Telcos have been excluded from the TUANZ distribution list. “Even if, despite this measure, carriers do receive the survey, the Ministry has full faith that they will respect the integrity of the process,” she says

However, the survey link has been featured on the TUANZ blog and the expected exclusion of telco employees has not been noted. TUANZ business development manager Katherine Hall wrote in December: “If you have not yet completed the MED’s survey on trans-Tasman Mobile Roaming take it now. The survey is open til Christmas and we’re hoping to hear from both the traveller and the person paying those large corporate bills. So jump on in, or forward the link to your colleagues.”

Hall later followed this up with a blog on 25 January noting it was the final days to complete the mobile roaming survey.

In addition, claims that survey respondents will be anonymous could be challenged as the MED will be checking IP addresses to ensure there is no duplication.

“As pointed out to respondents at the beginning of the survey, the IP address of the respondent’s computer is noted, so that we can make sure that people don’t fill in the survey more than once.”

The MED has also polled individual travellers returning from Australia and run a survey of small to medium enterprises whose staff use trans-Tasman roaming services.

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