This week saw the Commerce Commission release its market development snapshot report. It's a compact, state-of-the-industry report. It looks back at developments in 2017 and has a heavy focus on the mobile sector. That's appropriate with a mobile market study now underway.
Much of the report is positive. The commission notes that mobile data bundles have grown. All the carriers now have plans with at least 15GB of data. While there are plans that are marketed as unlimited, they have gotchas, such as automatically winding back download speeds once customers pass a threshold.
The Commerce Commission acknowledges the role of streaming video on mobile phones and the trend towards people using more data intensive options with social media.
There's been considerable growth in fixed wireless broadband and mention of some of the aggressive sales in this area.
Also of note is the rise of competing Internet of Things networks. New Zealand has five companies either offering or planning to offer nationwide IoT coverage. But with some service providers offering more than one network, there's a lot of activity. The Commission notes the value of these networks is still unknown and much of their target market is already covered by today's mobile networks.
Another notable trend is that watching TV over the internet is now mainstream. That's not just Netflix, but also Lightbox and Vodafone TV.
"In mid-2017, TVNZ publicly stated that TVNZ OnDemand had an average weekly reach of 240,000 viewers and 1.5 million streams. In August, telecommunications research firm IDC New Zealand reported that New Zealand ranks very highly for those who use streaming as their primary method of watching video. According to IDC, 22 percent of New Zealand consumers said that streaming was their primary method of programme viewing. This was equal to the US and well above the worldwide average of 14 percent."
Further down the list, the Commerce Commission notes that New Zealand is no longer dependent on a single international cable service provider.
Elsewhere there's recognition of the trend towards companies like Vocus offering electricity with broadband and other telecommunications products. The Commerce Commission also notes passing of an important milestone with fibre connections now outnumbering copper connections.