An annual industry report finds telcos investing more money than ever, but bringing in less.
The Commerce Commission’s Telecommunications Monitoring Report 2009, released today, finds that last year New Zealand telecommunications companies invested a record amount of money in infrastructure.
Increased total investment in telecommunications increased from $917 million in
2005/06 to $1.693 billion in 2008/09.
From next year, that could increase again as Crown fibre capex - and matching funds or more from private partners - kicks in.
Telecom accounted for 70% of the 2009 financial year spend-up, with capex centred on its Chorus division’s government-mandated fibre-to-the-node upgrade, and its XT build.
The other two big ticket items were Vodafone completing its 3G upgrade, and 2degrees launching the first phase of its network.
The commission found, accordingly, that more New Zealand had more broadband connections (more than 1 million by the end of 2009 vs 480,000 in 2006), and more people are using snazzier services, such as mobile data.
And more are exercising their right to choose. Alternative providers of broadband services have increased their market share from 25% to 40%.
New Zealand has moved from the lower reaches of the OECD's broadband league tables to the middle of the pack.
And, thanks to Chorus's current fibre-to-the-node roll-out, by the end of next year 80% of New Zealanders will have access to a 10Mbit/s or faster internet connection (even if not all are willing to pay for it at present, with bundled TV services and other value-adds lacking).
The bad news (at least if you’re a phone company or own shares in one): more competition, often by force of regulation, has seen less money coming in.
Over 2006 to 2009, total telco retail revenue has fallen from $4.92 billion to $4.74 billion per year.
And total mobile retail revenue has fallen from $1.93 billion to $1.92 billion (see table above).
Fri, 23 Apr 2010