What are the top trends in the telco sector? The Commerce Commission has made a call in its latest monitoring report monitoring released this week, highlighting what it views as the most notable market developments.
The paper, which is ostensibly a month-by-month account of the goings on of the telecommunications industry in 2017, provides an insight into the Commission’s thinking as it embarks on a study of the mobile market. Three trends in mobile are highlighted in the report.
First up is the observation that larger data bundles are being offered by mobile operators, with all of them offering bundles that include at least 15GB per month. The report notes that while some have “unlimited” plans, there are fair use policies which see speeds throttled over 22GB. Driving the increase in data bundles is consumer demand for streaming video via mobile and the use of social media that is “becoming more media-rich.”
The “dramatic growth” in fixed wireless packages is next on the Commission’s list of notable developments. It notes that Spark and Vodafone have “re-focussed their marketing” to show fixed wireless plans for the home broadband market. “We understand there has also been a concerted direct sales push in some areas.”
Later in the report it notes that a “small town newspaper reported Spark was encouraging residents to abandon old copper-based fixed-line connections for its wireless alternative. It was reported that instead of connecting the home phone via the telephone jacks wired into the house, Spark encouraged residents connect to the landline to a jack on the supplied wireless modem.”
The third mobile development is the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) networks, which, according to the report, began after KotahiNet, a specialist IoT network, began operating in 2016. These include Vodafone’s NarrowBand IoT (NB-IoT) network which the telco is developing with partner Nokia, Spark’s low range (LoRa) network which is being developed by Kordia and Spark’s plans to deploy mobile network-based IoT networks (LTE-M1 and Narrow-Band LTE).
“The value these specialist IoT networks is yet to be proven. The majority of New Zealand’s machine-to-machine connections are currently electricity meters, and are served by conventional mobile networks,” the report notes.
In addition to observations on the mobile market, the other significant developments cited in the report are retailers bundling electricity with their telco offers, competition in the international cable market, TV over the internet, Spark gradually switching off its PSTN network, and the number of fibre connections exceeding copper connections.