ComCom to telcos: provide consumers with meaningful comparison information

ComCom to telcos: provide consumers with meaningful comparison information

September 16, 2020 0 By administrator

Tristan Gilbertson (Commerce Commission)

Credit: Digical

The Commerce Commission has told NZ’s mobile network operators they should provide more meaningful comparison information and guard against overspending by consumers.

In an open letter to Spark, Vodafone and 2degrees, the regulator outlined its review of nearly 80,000 consumer mobile bills, which followed on from its 2019 study into the state of competition in the mobile market.

The review, which also included bills from Spark’s Skinny brand, found 64 per cent of consumers did not change plans during the 12-month review period.

The review found the average customer spent $33.85 per month, with the average postpaid customer spending more than twice as much as the average prepaid customer ($49.86 versus $21.65 per month).

It also found a quarter of post-paid consumers could save an estimated average of $11.60 a month by moving to a cheaper plan that would still cover their usage. 

Further, 7 per cent of all residential consumers spent a relatively high amount on mobile services, given their usage, and that these consumers could potentially save an average of $48.65 a month.

“Our work suggests that some consumers are significantly overspending on their mobile plans due to transparency and inertia problems in the market,” Telecommunications Commissioner Tristan Gilbertson said.

“We want to see the industry catch up to other sectors, like electricity, where consumers and comparison websites are making good use of the ability to compare usage and pricing.”

Gilbertson said the commission expected the operators to address these issues by increasing the usage information available to consumers and implementing measures to help keep consumers on plans that best reflect their actual requirements. 

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