Is Ernie Newman for real?

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 25-Jun-2007 14:46

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the Dominion Post this morning. According to our out of touch TUANZ CEO Ernie Newman some people are paying 71c per minute for calls from landlines to mobile phones and if you’re to believe Ernie this high cost is a direct result of both Telecom and Vodafone charging excessive rates for call termination.


Termination rates are a major component of retail fixed to mobile calls and a reason we are paying silly prices of 71c per minute for a call from home to a cellphone.


Excuse my language but what the hell are you smoking Ernie?


Both Vodafone and Telecom have cut their interconnection rates considerably over the past few years and the cost of calls from landlines to mobile phones has dropped for many users. The problem has nothing to do with interconnection rates, it’s solely a case of telcos making excessive retail margins on calls from landlines to mobile phones. There are plenty of providers now offering call rates from as low as 25c per minute upwards with many customers now paying somewhere between 30c – 35c per minute for calls. Why is it that Telecom still have a base rate of 71c per minute for calls to mobiles? When this rate was set in the late 80’s the term interconnection agreement didn’t exist as their where no other toll providers and it wasn’t until the mid 90’s that you were able to make non coded calls to mobile phones using a provider other than Telecom. Off the top of my head the interconnection rates were set at around 45c per minute at this time for both Telecom and BellSouth.


I’m sorry Ernie but you’re barking up the wrong tree here and so was the Commerce Commission when they tried to enforce lower interconnection rates. Unlike mobile networks in countries without calling party pays most mobile networks in countries with CPP regard this revenue stream as a very valuable source of income. Cut these interconnection rates and mobile operators simply gather that revenue from other parts of the business by way of higher costs for mobile originated calls so at the end of the day nobody really wins. While mobile operators were forced to cut their interconnection rates there is nobody out there forcing toll providers to cut their margins on calls to mobile phones which is the precise reason Telecom can still get away with charging 71c per minute to call a mobile. Don’t go blaming Vodafone for a problem that has nothing to do with them. Vodafone argued to the Commerce Commission that lowering interconnection rates wouldn’t necessarily result in those savings being passed on to the end consumer and it’s now obvious that this is precisely what has happened. Why not start targeting individual toll providers who are charging excessive rates and who haven’t reduced their rates despite paying lower wholesale prices? They truly are the cause of the problem.



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Comment by Grant17, on 25-Jun-2007 15:10

"...we are paying silly prices of 71c per minute for a call from home to a cellphone."

I had some friends who were unhappily paying that much to Telecom every time they called a mobile phone.  Even though they had Xtra Broadband, a Telecom Mobile and a landline, this is the price Telecom were gouging them for

I am sure there are a lot of people still paying this rate just because they don't know any better.  You would think that Telecom would have a policy of reviewing customers' accounts to try and save them money, a little bit like the way some power companies send you a letter suggesting that you switch plans in order to save money.  It might cost them some revenue but would earn lots of brownie points and engender customer loyalty.

Of course Telecom didn't do that and so now, they have lost this customer who transferred all their internet and toll calls to WorldxChange at my suggestion.  They are very happy with the savings and the service

Comment by cokemaster, on 25-Jun-2007 17:15

The anytime plans for landlines offer generally better savings for mobile calls than the standard landline package. However a lot of people just associate landline with the standard package.

Even still, I prefer just to use a mobile to call other mobiles (10c a minute off peak, any network) as its much cheaper.

Comment by antoniosk, on 25-Jun-2007 20:23

Cokemaster: Who do you use to call all NZ mobiles at 10c/minute?!?

Comment by cokemaster, on 25-Jun-2007 22:34

Telecom Flexi mytime. $1 per minute peak, $0.20 per minute for first 100 minutes, then $0.10 per minute for all other calls. Minimum $30 spend applies.

As I use a lot of calling at night (I use my desk phone during the day), I have no issues with it but it may not suit all.  

Comment by mclayma, on 26-Jun-2007 10:07

MMMM is Ernie ever going to share what ever he is smoking?

I guess some people are still over looking the value of using Telecom's Freedom calling plan.
$10.00 per month is great for being able to call a Telecom mobile as much as I like and have them call me as well.
Thats My .10 cents anyway.

sbiddle's profile

Steve Biddle
New Zealand

I'm an engineer who loves building solutions to solve problems.

I also love sharing my views and analysis of the tech world on this blog, along with the odd story about aviation and the travel industry.

My interests and skillset include:

*VoIP (Voice over IP). I work with various brands of hardware and PBX's on a daily basis
  -Asterisk (incl PiaF, FreePBX, Elastix)

  -xDSL deployments

*Structured cabling
  -Home/office cabling
  -Phone & Data

*Computer networking
  -Mikrotik hardware
  -WAN/LAN solutions

*Wireless solutions
  -Motel/Hotel hotspot deployments
  -Outdoor wireless deployments, both small and large scale
  -Temporary wireless deployments
*CCTV solutions
  -Analogue and IP

I'm an #avgeek who loves to travel the world (preferably in seat 1A) and stay in nice hotels.

+My views do no represent my employer. I'm sure they'll be happy to give their own if you ask them.

You can contact me here or by email at