Commission seeks views on how the mobile market will perform for consumers as technology changes

The Commerce Commission has released an issues paper calling for submissions on its initial assessment of the mobile market being carried out under Section 9A of the Telecommunications Act 2001. The Commission is seeking evidence on how the market is performing for consumers now and whether there are any current or potential issues preventing it from delivering greater benefits for New Zealanders in the future – issues that regulation might help resolve.

Telecommunications Commissioner Dr Stephen Gale said the mobile market study has been examining consumers’ ability to engage effectively with mobile service offerings, service providers’ ability to enter the mobile market, and how changes in technology may affect competition.

“On the consumer side, as an example, we have been examining how easily New Zealanders can compare retail offers, identify which mobile plan best suits their needs, and then switch to their preferred plan or provider. We are keen to hear from the industry and consumers on whether improvements can be made,” Dr Gale said.

“We are also studying what affects the viability of new possible mobile providers – ranging from resellers like Vocus and Warehouse Mobile through to operators who might acquire spectrum and build new networks. One focus is why resellers, so-called ‘mobile virtual network operators’, have a much lower market share here than in other countries.

“Looking ahead, new mobile technologies like 5G will benefit consumers but we are checking whether their adoption by telecommunication companies may affect competition. One question is whether any potential new entrants will be able to access 5G spectrum. Another is whether existing regulation of mobile infrastructure sharing needs to be eased off or stepped up.”

Submissions on the Issues Paper can be made to by 12 October 2018.

The Commission anticipates providing an update on the study by the end of the year.

The Issues Paper can be found here.


Section 9A of the Telecommunications Act 2001 requires the Commission to monitor competition in telecommunications markets and the performance and development of telecommunications markets. Under the Act, we may conduct studies into any matters relating to the telecommunications industry or the long-term benefit of end-users of telecommunications services within New Zealand. The findings of a section 9A study may lead us to consider whether any regulatory changes may be appropriate. Further investigations may include considering the amendment, removal or introduction of regulations.