Telecom increases phone line charges

Costs go up on all plans

Monthly line rentals and 018 directory enquiries from mobile phones will cost more from March this year, Telecom announced today. The line rental increase will be between $1 and $1.85 a month, depending on the plan customers are on and the area they live in.

While 018 directory enquiries will remain at 50¢, using the service from a mobile phone will go up to 75¢ per call, Telecom says. The 50% increase in directory enquiries charges is the first in ten years, according to Telecom.

Telecom's general manager of consumer marketing Kevin Bowler says the hiked line rental was due to unavoidable cost increases "across many areas of the business", without being specific.

Despite the price increases, Bowler says the cost of calling with Telecom is good value and continues to come down. He states that national calls are 16% cheaper now than they were three years ago, and international calling is 28% cheaper.

The Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand, TUANZ, says the price hikes are a timely reminder of the lack of competition in telecommunications in the country. Telecom is entitled to increase its local line prices by the rate of inflation under the Kiwi Share agreement with the government with having to justify it in any way, says TUANZ chief executive Ernie Newman.

Newman also points to the large difference in line rentals that customers in Wellington and Christchurch pay compared to what they cost elsewhere. In those areas, Telecom has competition for residential phone lines. As a result of that, the line rental currently is $34.80 in Wellington and Christchurch, but $42.20 elsewhere.

Plan or old productOld price incl. GSTIncreaseNew price incl. GST
HomeLine in the Wellington 04

calling region and Christchurch city and most suburbs

$34.80$1.20$36.00
HomeLine in all other areas$42.20$1.40$43.60
Second HomeLine in the Wellington 04 calling region and Christchurch city and most suburbs & Secondline - HomeLine Special$31.70$1.00$32.70
Secondline - HomeLine Standard$38.50$1.30$39.80
Anytime in the Auckland City, Wellington 04

calling region and Christchurch city and most suburbs

$39.85$1.35$41.20
Anytime in all other areas$44.95$1.55$46.50
Anytime Plus in the Auckland City, Wellington 04

calling region and Christchurch city and most suburbs

$49.95$1.65$51.60
Anytime Plus in all other areas$54.95$1.85$56.80
Two on 1 package$38.05$1.25$39.30
Source: Telecom New Zealand

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