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Fibre up, copper down

Sarah Putt, Contributor. 12 March 2020, 4:10 pm

The headline stat in the Commerce Commission's annual stocktake of the telco industry is that this is the first time fibre connections have outnumbered copper connections. There were 880,000 homes and businesses with fibre connections, compared with 581,000 copper connections - the former went up by 31% on the year before, while the latter dropped by 23%.

Meanwhile, only 8% of fixed line customers are opting for voice-only connections. This data was recorded as at 30 September 2019. Here's the graph showing the uptake of fixed broadband technology.

Fixed line connections.png 

As you might expect, data consumption continues to rise, with the average amount of data used by fixed line broadband subscribers at 208GM. Although we have yet to reach the consumption of UK users, where it is 240GB. This may change if the Covid-19 situation escalates, forcing more people to self-isolate  - or maybe not, as Chorus network evangelist Kurt Rodgers tweeted today.



Mobile data consumption is also on the rise, as this graph shows.

Mobile data.png



But again, we are behind consumption when compared to other countries, as the report points out: "Although the average amount of mobile data per connection has been increasing in New Zealand, New Zealand's average appears to be relatively low compared to other OECD countries."

Is price a factor in mobile data consumption? Possibly. According to the Commerce Commission, "New Zealand's benchmarked mobile prices were below the OECD average but above Australia for all the OECD plan types we measure."

Screen Shot 2020-03-12 at 3.53.17 PM.png 

But, for high-end users at least, there are more incentives to use mobile data. "We note that all three mobile operators now claim to offer uncapped 'unlimited'12 data bundles for on-account customers. These plans are now purchased by 106,000, or 7%, of on account residential customers."

Annual investment in telco networks is $1.7 billion, with a sizeable portion of this in building the Government-back broadband rollouts. While annual revenue from fixed line ($2.49 billion) and mobile ($2.83 billion) shows there is still a buck to be make in the telco industry.

You can read the full report here.


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