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Published Thursday 11 Aug 2022


Kiwis are a careful lot when it comes to money. We like to know what we’re buying, what the costs will actually be and how to get the most out of our hard-earned cash. We've put together a code to help you compare apples with apples when choosing a telco provider.

 

How Kiwis can get the most from their telco

As the telecommunications industry, we’ve come together to help clear up any confusion and allow customers to make an informed buying decision. We’ve introduced a broadband marketing code that tells retailers how they can talk to customers about a range of things including speed and capability. This will enable customers to understand what plans are right for them and what to expect from their service provider.

Over the past few years we’ve moved from having one telephone on the table in the hallway to a world of terms like broadband, mobile, pre-pay, contract, fixed wireless, satellite, bring your own device and so much more. It’s easy to feel confused or overwhelmed and that’s not helpful to anyone.

NZ telecommunication options

New Zealander’s can find themselves presented with a lot of different telecommunication choices. We’re blessed with a fibre to the home network that is second to none offering speeds that are only dreamed of in other parts of the world. We have three mobile network operators each with the latest in terms of wireless capability and all of which offer both mobile service and “fixed-wireless” which uses the mobile networks to provide broadband to your home or property. We have Wireless ISP’s that build their own networks to connect those in rural areas, and we have a range of satellite services that reach the truly remote parts of the country. We also have a copper network that can still be used to deliver service to those who need it.

The Broadband Marketing Code can help you 

The broadband marketing code helps to ensure retailers will all use the same language to sell all these products and services so customers can better understand the products and what would work best for them.

The speed test

Take speed for example. This is the key metric most broadband customers consider when making a buying decision. Speeds have traditionally been marketed on their maximum potential speed so you’ll have seen phrases like “Up to 500Mbit/s” or similar. You might not get that yourself, but that’s what you’re sold on.

 Under the code that won’t be allowed. Instead, retailers must use the Commerce Commission’s quarterly broadband monitoring reports to help describe the connection and what you’re likely to see in the real world.

Because the data is based on real accounts from all around the country we get a good view of actual experience rather than the sorts of speeds you might hope for theoretically. That means when a retailer says you’ll likely see (for example) 325Mbit/s then that’s what you should expect to get at your place.

 That’s important because as a customer you want to be able to compare apples with apples in a meaningful way. Otherwise you could find the product you’re buying doesn’t meet your needs.

Take my next-door neighbour who had fibre put in but who complained endlessly that it wasn’t that quick. Possibly this was the fault of his home network but more likely his choice of the entry level 30Mbit/s plan may have had something to do with it. When he upgraded to 100Mbit/s he found it met his expectations. That was because it was three times the speed.

Likewise, you don’t want a plan that’s overkill for your situation. If you’re a young urban professional with no kids who uses the company laptop to access emails and watch a bit of streaming content on the weekend you probably won’t be on the same plan as a family with four school-age kids who like to study, play, meet, listen, consume content 24/7 in a purely digital way.

A fair comparison

We think it’s only reasonable to ensure broadband services are being presented with fair and accurate information about speed and performance. This will help customers make an informed buying decision.

By putting the information into the hands of the customer, we are making it easier to choose the right plan and right technology for your needs. You will be able to compare each service provider side by side – apples with apples – to help you choose the plan and provider which meets your needs. Helping you get the most out of your telco.

Find out more about the Broadband Marketing Code.