Consumers now get better value for money from telecommunications service. That's the headline message in the latest Commerce Commission annual telecommunications monitoring report.
Telecommunications Commissioner Stephen Gale says internet prices have dropped in the last year. Customers now get four times as much data as before for the same price.
He says consumers can buy a 100GB fixed-line voice and broadband plan for $65. That's $10 less than last year's price. A 100Mbps fibre plan with unlimited data now costs $90 a month. That's 19 percent cheaper than in Australia.
Gale also notes average broadband speeds have been rising thanks to a boost in fibre uptake. Fibre connections grew from 197,000 to 368,000 in a single year. Meanwhile congestion is reducing on the copper network.
He says almost every phone sold now is a smartphone able to connect to the internet. Mobile services are accessible. For $13 a month a customer can get 50 minutes of calling and 100MB of data.
There's praise for the industry. Gale says broadband and mobile prices compare well with those overseas. He says the local companies respond well to customer needs with getting the right plans on to the market.
Yet, there's a barb. Gales notes the high level of problems. He says there is plenty of room for improvements in customer service.
InternetNZ chief executive Jordan Carter says he is pleased to see internet use increasing and the cost of it getting cheaper. He says the highlights areas for improvement: “In particular, telecommunications consumers reporting a high level of problems. This shows that the challenge of customer service remains. People want to know that dealing with their Internet provider will be simple, quick and right the first time. There's more work for the industry to do on that front".