Only 7% of New Zealand phone calls go via mobile networks, according to telecomms analyst Paul Budde, who attributes the low figure to the high cost of mobile calls.
It compares with more than 50% of calls in the US and Scandinavian, Sydney-based Budde says. He says the figure in Australia is also low compared with the US, although it is more than double the New Zealand figure.
“The main reason for this is the high call charges,” Budde says. “The absence of effective competition keeps these charges artificially high.”
Budde expects the high rates to lead to the emergence of virtual mobile operators.
“Similar to the callback operators who forced international prices down, we will soon see virtual mobile operators doing the same thing.”
Budde says mobile networks are becoming increasingly interconnected, which will make it impossible to halt virtual operators.
Budde says his own experience of international roaming illustrates the high cost of mobile calls.
“In normal months, when I don’t travel internationally, my mobile bill is between $A80 and $A120; when I travel overseas, however, this could increase to between $A500 and $A800.”