OECD rep urges caution over telecomms statistics

An OECD representative says figures which show New Zealand's telecomms spending is comparatively high need to be interpreted carefully.

An OECD representative says figures which show New Zealand's telecomms spending is comparatively high need to be interpreted carefully.

Darryl Biggar says the figures, which were being bandied about at last week's telecommunications industry forum in Wellington are for a “basket” of services.

Biggar says phone subscribers in different countries have different typical mixes of telephone services , so what is a meaningful evaluation in a country with a mix close to the sample “basket” may be totally inappropriate in a country with different usage patterns.

He says New Zealand can be shown to be performing relatively well in the competition stakes. A measure of the proportion of lines held by the “incumbent” operator, set against the years since liberalisation, show Telecom New Zealand’s market share diminishing markedly faster than the OECD average.

Biggar says, however, that competition in the mobile phone arena is still disappointing. “You only have two mobile operators; that’s not competition, it’s a duopoly.”

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