Vodafone NZ responds to the ComCom's mobile bill review

In response to the Commerce Commission's open letter regarding their mobile bill review, Vodafone says:

This report confirms that mobile telecommunications is one of the most competitive sectors in our economy, and that most New Zealanders shop around for the best mobile deals.

We’ll work with the TCF on a detailed response, however initial observations include:

  • If you reverse the figures given in the ComCom research, one could deduce that 36% of consumers who bought base plans switched during the 12 month period – more than one-third, which is significantly higher than the electricity sector where average churn is understood to be around 20%, and banking is even lower at around 14%. If anything, these comparisons show the level of churn is already too high, creating unnecessary costs for the industry.
  • While the report states “around 7% of residential consumers spend a relatively high amount on mobile services, given their usage” – the inference is that 93% of consumers are playing a fair amount.
  • There are a number of technical details our Regulatory team will be working through, to respond to this request.

Customers choose plans for a variety of reasons, and it’s not as straight forward as looking just at data allowances vs usage and price. Some people want free social data or calls to Australia – or certainty they won’t run out of high-speed mobile data.

We already offer consumers some great deals, with our cheapest monthly prepay option costing just a little more than a Big Mac combo ($13/month for prepay vs $12.40 for a Maccas combo). Additionally, Endless Data mobile plans come in a range of sizes and offer data certainty for no extra cost, which have been receiving incredibly good customer feedback.

Furthermore, we regularly contact our customers to inform them of the best plans available to them, for example, we run quarterly campaigns to inform customers on older post pay plans about our new deals. We also proactively contact customers nearing the end of a promotion, informing them that the offer is coming to an end and options of plans that might be right for them. All customers can check recent (last 2 months) usage on the My Vodafone app.

More broadly, New Zealand consumers are well served by mobile with the GSMA recently confirming we rank third in the largest global survey of mobile networks and services. In September 2019, the Commerce Commission released a report into New Zealand’s mobile market concluding there is a strong level of competition, with Kiwis paying less than the OECD average for mobile services.

We’ll continue to work with the telco industry as we respond to the Commerce Commission’s requests.

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