Spark says it now has 100,000 customers on its fixed wireless broadband service, launched in April 2016 and delivered using its cellular network.
Clive Ormerod, general manager of customer and marketing for Spark Home, Mobile and Business said 15 percent of Spark and Skinny broadband customers had now moved to the wireless broadband product in just over a year.
It takes to 43 percent the number of Spark broadband customers not on copper networks and, says Spark, marks significant progress in its plan to have all domestic broadband customers on either wireless or fibre.
Spark announced in November 2016 a plan dubbed ‘Upgrade New Zealand’ to get as many of its broadband customers as possible off copper networks by moving high data volume users to fibre and others to wireless broadband. That move followed launch of the wireless broadband service in April 2016.
As the bandwidth of wireless increases with the advent of 5G Spark has indicted that it is likely to move even more customers to wireless, citing the low margins to retailers on fibre network services.
CEO Simon Moutter told the company’s AGM in early November that these narrow margins were a key driver for the company’s move to wireless for both mobile and fixed communications.
“Customers have a strong preference for wireless connectivity. They want to be always connected, to have a seamless digital experience. Even in the home broadband space, it’s becoming a wireless world,” he said.
Ormerod said: “Spark’s consumer customer satisfaction research [shows] customers prefer wireless connectivity to their old copper line and the continued rate of data growth shows that customers also want to be always connected.”
Trial of portable wireless broadband
park has also launched a trial service —with 100 wireless broadband customers that will enable domestic broadband customers to use their service when on holiday. Participants will be able to unplug their Spark modem and plug it in at their New Zealand holiday destination
Ormerod said the trial would help assess demand for such a service as a commercial offering. He explained that Spark wireless broadband modems are geolocked so they provide service at one location only, but since launch of the service Spark has been receiving requests ot unlock modems an make wireless broadband portable.
“What we’ve already seen is that there is a significant appetite for this service,” he said. “We had many more applications from customers wanting to be on the trial than we expected.”