Telco survey: Mobile and internet service providers

Who do you have to call around here for decent internet and mobile services?

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Tired of being left on hold by your telco? Internet connection not delivering the speeds you were promised? Our latest survey finds telcos have a lot to do to keep their customers satisfied.

Mobile satisfaction

Satisfaction with mobile service providers has remained fairly static. Overall, 56% of mobile customers were happy with the service they were getting, compared with 54% in our 2017 survey.

Vodafone, which has the biggest share of the mobile market, retained its place at the bottom of our table with a score of 51%.

Top of the table? For the third year in a row, it was Skinny. The Spark offshoot outperformed its parent company – as well as the two other brands in our survey – with a satisfaction score of 77%.

The pre-pay service also rated above average for value for money (76%), while Spark got the lowest rating, scoring just 41%. The industry average was 47%.

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GUIDE TO THE TABLES OUR DATA are from a nationally representative survey of 2150 New Zealanders aged 18 years and over, which took place in December 2018. Companies are those with 30 responses or more (response numbers are in brackets). Overall satisfaction shows the percentage of consumers who rated their internet/mobile retailer 8, 9 or 10 on a scale from 0 (very dissatisfied) to 10 (very satisfied).

Who’s who?

Spark and Vodafone are the biggest players in our telco market.

Spark holds an estimated 43% of the broadband market and 32% of the mobile market. It also owns Bigpipe and Skinny. Bigpipe offers broadband only while Skinny offers mobile and internet services.

Vodafone has an estimated 26% share of the broadband market and 41% of the mobile market.

Vocus Communications is the third biggest player in broadband, with a 13% share. Vocus owns Flip, Orcon and Slingshot.

2degrees is best known as a mobile operator (with 21% of the market), but has expanded into broadband.

Other companies in our latest survey include MyRepublic, Now NZ, Stuff Fibre and Trustpower.

MyRepublic set up shop in 2013 and is owned by Singapore-based MyRepublic Group. It offers home phone and broadband.

Now NZ is a Napier-based company that has been around since 2002. It offers home phone and broadband. Spark has a 37% holding in the company.

Stuff Fibre is owned by media organisation Stuff. It offers fibre services and movies through StuffPix.

Energy company Trustpower now sells home phone and internet plans, as well as electricity and gas.

Internet satisfaction

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Fair trading complaints

Fair trading complaints

Fair trading complaints

Telcos continue to top the Commerce Commission’s list of the most complained-about traders. Last year, the commission received 584 complaints about the telco industry

The commission said many consumers reported that telcos made claims about their products that weren’t easy to substantiate. “Consumers have explained that they were not sure about a trader’s offer of the ‘best price’ or ‘best deal’ in the market. Other complainants allege that a trader promised a speed and quality of broadband that the consumer did not believe they received,” it said.

In 2018, the commission laid charges against Spark and Vodafone for alleged breaches of the Fair Trading Act.

Spark pleaded guilty to charges brought against it for over-charging customers and failing to disclose the conditions of a $100 credit available to customers signing up to a particular broadband plan.

Vodafone is facing charges for allegedly making false representations in invoices sent to customers and for claims made for its FibreX broadband service. The commission said the name FibreX misled consumers into thinking they were getting a full fibre optic-service, when FibreX is delivered via Vodafone’s cable network. Vodafone has pleaded guilty to some charges relating to FibreX but is defending others.

Settling disputes

If you have an issue with a telco and have been unable to resolve it with them you could take your case to the Telecommunication Dispute Resolution service.

The TDR can look at unresolved complaints to do with billing, customer service, hardware faults, contracts, network performance, or something similar. This includes pre-paid mobiles.

TDR can consider:

  • Complaints about companies that are TDR scheme members.
  • Any service or product from any TDR member. You can also complain about how you have been charged for products and services (but not the pricing).
  • Complaints that have already been made to a telecommunications company, as long as it is within 12 months of the complaint first being made.
  • Complaints that involve claims for $15,000 or less, including compensation for direct loss.

Consumer Trusted

Consumer Trusted

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Consumer Trusted

Skinny Mobile is a Consumer NZ Trusted Business programme. The programme is designed to advance the interests of New Zealand consumers. Businesses are assessed against our Code of Conduct and agree to comply with the code’s principles. Customers of a Consumer Trusted business can also use our advisory service.

Digital Living

Digital Living

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Digital Living

Want your home to be a digital wonderland but not sure where to start? Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a technical genius. Our guide will take you through all the steps you need to get your devices connected and working.

Start reading.

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