Vodafone slams ComCom for failing to see the whole shebang...

By tonyhughes Hughes, in , posted: 11-Apr-2008 09:43

... the ComComs blinkers are still on loan from TUANZ and doing a superb job.

Vodafone hand delivered the following press release into my inbox this morning, and reading through it, I think they have some very valid points.

Much is made of the expense, bad value, and lack of competition in this country for mobile, yet for the savvy consumer, there are some great deals out there.

For example, on top of all other deals, if you pay your account or top up your prepaid using Hotlink or Credit Card at the moment, you get 20% extra free. Max $100 a day. I do that for three days, prepaying $300, and get $60 extra service at no cost. What customer wouldnt want a 20% decrease in costs?

All these rankings and reports that happen, often do not take promotions or new products or services into account, which really skews the results.

If you sit there on an old plan, getting bad rates, then its your own responsibility to change that.

If I keep going to the service station and putting 95 octane fuel into my car, its not Caltex's responsibility to run out and say 'You should put 91 octane in and save some money".

Consumers in this country need to take responsibility for themselves, harness the power of the interwebtubes, and find a better deal.

The issues that Vodafone point out are not unique to Vodafone either, Telecom New Zealand also has some great offerings out that sit under the OECD or ComCom (or consumers and TUANZ) radar whenever is convenient, when someone wants to initiate a bit of telco bashing.

Vodafone is pleased the Commerce Commission’s annual report on local telecommunications shows the market is increasingly competitive, despite it not taking into consideration new products that give New Zealanders extraordinary value.

The report compares New Zealand’s progress in fixed line, mobile and broadband with a number of other countries from around the world and Vodafone is delighted to be leading the charge in the mobile sector.

“We know that ultimately, the Commerce Commission wants the best possible value for New Zealand consumers. That’s something Vodafone is delivering through value driven plans, like You Choose Base Plans and innovative products such as Family,” says Vodafone’s GM of Corporate Affairs, Tom Chignell.

Vodafone Family allows four mobile callers to call, TXT and video call each other as much as they like for $20 on one bill-payer’s account. The Commission claims that such plans cannot be benchmarked effectively, and so has left them out of the report.

“The Commission acknowledges that mobiles prices are falling and we’re seeing a corresponding rise in the number of customer minutes on the network each month. Customers are paying less and doing more,” says Mr Chignell.

The Commission has also declined to consider Vodafone’s most price sensitive plans, the You Choose Base plans.

“We have acknowledged the Commission’s previous concerns about conditions of these plans and have removed the restrictions the Commission was unhappy with.

Vodafone maintains the greatest value on the Vodafone network lies in plans like Best Mate and the newly launched Family offer, neither of which is considered by the Commission in its assessment of the price of calling.”

“That skews the results of the survey but even so, Vodafone is pleased to be leading the market in terms of pricing, flexibility and innovation.”

Even with Best Mate and Family’s exclusion from the findings, the Commission’s report puts Vodafone’s estimated mobile revenue per minute at the lowest in the country, with the volume of calls on Vodafone’s network rising from 650 million minutes per month in December 2006 to almost 900 million minutes in December 2007.

“That equates to a one third increase in use per Vodafone customer in New Zealand, higher than any other Vodafone company in the same time frame.”

“Our customers know great value when they see it and they’re responding in kind by using their Vodafone mobiles far more than ever before.”

Vodafone’s impact in the broadband market is also being felt with the share of growth in retail DSL connections moving dramatically in favour of wholesale partners rather than the incumbent. In December 2006, the Commission says only 20% of new broadband connections were made by wholesale partners – that’s risen to almost 80% a year later.

“In that time we’ve been aggressive in the market with our “12 month free broadband” offer, a promotion which was a huge success. And when we launch our unbundled broadband offer later this year we expect to see similar levels of interest from the customers who, until now, haven’t had the choice they deserve.”

Vodafone also hopes to see the Commission include its new Home Phone Plus service in the fixed line figures when the next report comes out in a year’s time. This offers great value to customers, adding the benefits of unlimited toll calling to the local calling package for just $40 per month.

“We intend to shake up the fixed line calling market in the same way we’ve revolutionised both mobile and broadband. The year ahead will be even busier than the one that’s just finished and Vodafone looks forward to leading the way.”



More information

Other related posts:
Maori Language Predictive Text Implementation on (some) XT Network Handsets
Ubuntu 9.04 Synaptic Package Manager with ISA proxy
Vodafone successfully delays launch of Telecoms XT Network until interference resolved








Comment by sbiddle, on 11-Apr-2008 10:18

What you can't deny however is that that looking at the ARPU per user and the average number of minutes used per person that Vodafone NZ's figures look very sad indeed. NZ has some of the lowest airtime minutes across the entire Group networks.

A typical Vodafone Australia customer and a Vodafone NZ customer have a very similair ARPU and yet Australian customers use approximately double the number of airtime minutes as a NZ customer. This indicates they're receiving far better value for money than we are here in NZ!


Comment by PaulBrislen, on 11-Apr-2008 10:37

Hi Steve, let's not forget that NZ's figures are all skewed by free local calling. Vodafone NZ is far less than Vodafone Australia but about on par with most of the European Vodafones...

Have a look at the Com Com report on page 24. Portugal, Germany, Romania and Malta are included to compare/contrast and they're all lower than NZ.

And if you look closely at that graph you'll see the likes of Australia and Ireland (at the top) are flat over the year while Vodafone NZ customers have increased their average calling minutes by one third. So, prices have come down and call volumes have gone up. That's got to be good, right?

Cheers

Paul


Comment by sbiddle, on 11-Apr-2008 11:01

Prices should be dropping and airtime rates will increase. It is a basic law of economics that Vodafone seem to have been completly oblivious too.

NZ's airtime usage is very low compared to European networks (Vodafone HU for example has a similair customer base and yet 50% more airtime) and the fact NZ could increase is hardly surprising since we're off a much smaller base. Proportionate to the customer base Vodafone's own KPI's show that airtime for the June - December 6 month period Vodafone NZ's increase in voice minutes was nothing outstanding and infact many other Group networks had far bigger increases. The only difference in NZ is that this was combined with a higher ARPU which shows the organic growth in airtime minutes came from products as as BestMate which increased APRU and that those customers who aren't on BestMate aren't actually benefiting from lower prices for voice calls.

My biggest gripe however is that I personally don't care about having a BestMate or Family plan - I want to be able to get cheaper pricing overall. 200 minutes of anytime calling to any number for a reasonable price per month would suit me fine. Infact I'd love to see a 200 min anytime plan with 500 TXT's to any network and 500MB of data for $70 per month. Why can't anybody offer me that?


Comment by PaulBrislen, on 11-Apr-2008 11:32

Where are you getting your figures from for that reply, Steve, because that doesn't agree with what I've got here.

I'm looking at the Commerce Commission report that was released yesterday which Tony's post refers to - in it you'll see that Vodafone NZ sits squarely in the middle of the Vodafone Europe group of companies for minutes on the network but that our minutes are growing much faster than anyone else's. I have no idea what KPI you're talking about.

Quite why you think Vodafone is "oblivious" to something I just pointed out in the previous post is beyond me. Are you agreeing that call volumes are up or not?


Comment by sbiddle, on 11-Apr-2008 15:05

My figures are from the Vodafone Corporate website looking at their KPI's from December 2007.

The first thing to mention about Vodafone NZ's airtime minutes is that they are rounded up to the nearest minute for a large majority of customers. Vodafone Germany and Vodafone NZ are the only two group companies who report's reported figures are reported like this which means that airtime figures in NZ could actually be very heavily inflated. No mention has been made of this rather significant fact in any of Vodafone's releases or in the commerce commission report.


Point Number 1:

Now let's quote Tom Chignall:

"Even with Best Mate and Family's exclusion from the findings, the Commission's report puts Vodafone's estimated mobile revenue per minute at the lowest in the country, with the volume of calls on Vodafone's network rising from 650 million minutes per month in December 2006 to almost 900 million minutes in December 2007. "That equates to a one third increase in use per Vodafone customer in New Zealand, higher than any other Vodafone company in the same time frame."

Bzzz. Sorry Tom but you're wrong. Vodafone's total airtime minutes increased from 672 million per month to 888 million per month in that period. That is roughly a 33% increase in total network airtime but does not represent a 33% increase in use per Vodafone customer. Customer numbers at Dec 2006 were 2134000 vs 2309000 at Dec 07. This represents an average of 314 mins per customer vs 384 mins per customer which is only a 22.3% increase in voice minutes per customer, a whole 1/3 less than Vodafone's reported figures and an increase of 70 mins per customer over that time. Vodafone Czech (lead by his greatness Graham Maher) actually pipped Vodafone NZ by reporting an increase of 22.6% per customer however because this was off a slightly bigger customer base it represents an increase of 86 minutes per customer.


Point Number 2:


This average of 384 mins per customer for NZ is not in the middle of airtime usage for European Networks -

Vodafone Italy : 423
Vodafone Spain : 556
Vodafone Greece : 412
Vodafone Germany : 319
Vodafone UK : 511
Vodafone Ireland : 681
Vodafone Netherlands : 504
Vodafone Portugal : 436
Vodafone Hungary : 523

And two Eastern European Networks for comparison:

Vodafone Czech : 466
Vodafone Turkey : 382

We hardly sit in the middle.

The Commerce Commission report is a sham to due to extremely irrevelent comparisions of data - much like statistics NZ's analysis of the food price index!


Comment by sbiddle, on 11-Apr-2008 15:21

Maybe somebody could provide real (ie unrounded) airtime figures for the Vodafone NZ network.

After consulting with a friend just now I'm picking Vodafone NZ's actual usage per customer is infact closer to an average of 200-250 minutes per month. Because this isn't a factual figure I can't make any assumptions but if true it really doesn't make us look good.


Comment by PaulBrislen, on 11-Apr-2008 16:26

Again, I'm unsure where exactly you're reading these figures. I'm referring to the Commerce Commission report which can be found here.

It's the report itself that I have issues with because of the way the CC has decided to leave out the bits from the OECD findings that it disagrees with.

If you can give me the source for your figures, I might be able to compare and contrast. Do your figures include incoming AND outgoing minutes or just incoming minutes? and so on.

When I say we're in the middle of the European figures I'm refering to those countries from Europe mentioned in the CC report. They've taken half a dozen or so to compare and contrast with.

And again, don't forget that NZ has free local calling as standard on landlines - we go for the landline to make a local call before anything else. That will also have an impact on any paid usage model.


Comment by sbiddle, on 11-Apr-2008 17:02

My source is Vodafone's Investor KPI's

http://www.vodafone.com/start/investor_relations.html


Comment by Paul Brislen, on 11-Apr-2008 17:35

Right... I'll ask and see where the difference comes from.



Cheers



Paul


Comment by Steve Withers, on 13-Apr-2008 12:51

Not really adding to the thread above. Just some observations of my own. I mainly use pre-pay phones. I like the freedom they offer and the opportunity to avoid "owing" money. The people I use the phone most to communicate with mainly use txts rather than phone calls. I pay the $10 / month for 2000 txts. I rarely make any voice calls on the cell phone. I rarely receive any.



Last year, I spent 6 months in Toronto, Canada. At first, I was on a pre-pay phone, but it proved to be SO expensive (C$130 / month for minimal use) that I moved to a monthly business account with a "nation-wide" (all of Canada) number of minutes.



Users there may have low per-minute charges, but they pay to call AND receive calls. They also pay toll rates if not in their local calling area. To both call and be called. So though you might make no calls yourself, you can find yourself paying a lot of money each month to RECEIVE calls...and you pay a LOT more if more than a few miles away from your home.



I was paying BCE (Bell Canada) C$280 / month for 1000 minutes nation-wide. That includes incoming calls. The other two major operators, Telus and Rogers, are more or less the same.



Overall, operating a cellphone (pre-pay or monthly business account) was FAR more expensive in Canada than doing the same things here in New Zealand.



In NZ, having one price for the whole country and not having to pay to receive calls makes operating a cell phone MUCH cheaper here (for me).



Really, the only bright spot in Toronto was that for $25 / month (plus 7% PST and 7% GST) I could have Internet access on the cell phone. Then, or another $7.95 / month (plus the taxes) I had unlimited data usage. *THAT* was simply awesome. YouTube, e-mail, videos, pictures.....whatever....all for a flat fee if done via the Internet.



But at about NZ$425 / month, I was paying some very heavy dollars over there for the service I got.


Author's note by tonyhughes, on 15-Apr-2008 15:52

The formatting on Pauls last comment died, so I have killed it, and will get him to repost the info in readable form.


Comment by PaulBrislen, on 15-Apr-2008 17:04

Right, let's try that again.

Sbiddle says: Bzzz. Sorry Tom but you're wrong. Vodafone's total airtime minutes increased from 672 million per month to 888 million per month in that period. That is roughly a 33% increase in total network airtime but does not represent a 33% increase in use per Vodafone customer
 
Paul says: We have increased from 101.8 to 128.2 so no, not quite a third. I was rounding so that's my fault. It is instead 26%.
 
It looks to us like you''ve got your sums wrong with the Vodafone Czech figures - up from 127 to 135 minutes, which is a 6.2% increase, not a 22.6% increase.
 
Here's our list of percentage growth in average minutes from the Vodafone KPIs:
 
New Zealand 25.90%
Germany 13.00%
Malta 10.37%
Romania 9.09%
Hungary 8.45%
Czech Republic 6.19%
UK 6.16%
Spain 5.17%
Italy 3.24%
Netherlands 3.03%
Ireland 1.49%
Portugal 0.49%
Australia -0.71%
Greece -3.12%
Albania -4.08%

 
 
Which clearly puts us ahead of the game.
 
Sbiddle says:
 
This average of 384 mins per customer for NZ is not in the middle of airtime usage for European Networks -

Vodafone Italy :     423
Vodafone Spain :     556
Vodafone Greece :     412
Vodafone Germany :     319
Vodafone UK :         511
Vodafone Ireland :     681
Vodafone Netherlands :     504
Vodafone Portugal :     436
Vodafone Hungary :     523

And two Eastern European Networks for comparison:

Vodafone Czech :     466
Vodafone Turkey :     382

We hardly sit in the middle.

And I say we are in the middle, but not EXACTLY at the mid point. Here's the list which puts us 10th out of 15th so "in the mid range" would have been a better choice of words.
 
  Minutes Customers Average Minutes
Ireland     1,543        2,265        227  1
Australia     2,422             3,573        226  2
Spain         8,800        15,810          186  3
Hungary     1,206           2,304           174  4
UK         9,434           18,447          170  5
Netherlands     2,036           4,038           168  6
Italy         9,651           22,791          141  7
Greece         2,244           5,438           138  8
Czech Republic     1,075        2,658             135  9
New Zealand     888             2,309           128  10
Portugal     1,764              5,111           115  11
Germany     10,827          33,920          106  12
Romania     2,778           8,808           105  13
Malta         59              201             098  14
Albania     188             1,127           056  15
              145  average
              138  median

 


Author's note by tonyhughes, on 15-Apr-2008 17:27

Thats better!!


Add a comment

Please note: comments that are inappropriate or promotional in nature will be deleted. E-mail addresses are not displayed, but you must enter a valid e-mail address to confirm your comments.

Are you a registered Geekzone user? Login to have the fields below automatically filled in for you and to enable links in comments. If you have (or qualify to have) a Geekzone Blog then your comment will be automatically confirmed and shown in this blog post.

Your name:

Your e-mail:

Your webpage:



Subscribe To My RSS Feed