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NZ telco market reinvents itself post COVID

By Shannon Williams, Thu 21 Oct 2021

The New Zealand telco market is fighting back after COVID-19 revenue impacts, new research from IDC has revealed.

IDC's 2021 New Zealand Telecommunications Market Analysis and Forecast Report says that despite pandemic impacts the New Zealand Telecommunications Market has remained relatively flat with revenues experiencing a marginal decline of –0.1% in the year to June 2021.

Last year, IDC said telcos should focus on resiliency and reinvention and we were not disappointed. 

"Telcos are building new revenues and furthering resiliency in the wake of COVID-19," says IDC senior market analyst telecommunications, Wiji Gedera.

"The flat market and pandemic impacts are driving new behaviours from the telcos to innovate as well as become more efficient."

Players in the market are opting for strategic initiatives driven by their key competencies. For example, mobile network operators (MNOs) are focused on revenue growth by offering 5G fixed wireless broadband to counter margin erosion and improve their network utilisation. In another example, Chorus has countered with its offer of free speed upgrades for Fibre 100 customers, tripling the download speed.

At a wider sector level, IDC is observing a fast-evolving shift in strategies.

"We're seeing initiatives that focus on collaboration, partnering, and investment," says IDC associate research director Monica Collier.

"There is increasing activity around joint ventures, partnerships, infrastructure sharing, increasing network utilisation, and new investment opportunities. The industry has historically seen assets such as network infrastructure as a competitive differentiator, but it is now eyeballing the wider opportunities available."

A longer-term market shift is the continued increase in non-traditional market players. 

"SKY's recent broadband market entry is another in a line of broadband entrants from other industries. These non-traditional participants are all about churn reduction and they aren't feeling the margin pinch like the telco retailers," says Gedera. 

International low-earth-orbit satellite broadband provider Starlink has also commenced retail services in New Zealand. 

"IDC is seeing new entrants that are not your traditional telco, and we expect fresh thinking and different perspectives from these competitors that will keep the New Zealand market on its toes," Collier adds.

IDC forecasts the New Zealand telecommunications market will slowly recover through to 2025 at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 1.6%. This growth is driven by forecast improvements in mobile service revenue and broadband despite declines in legacy voice, fixed data and access revenue. 

As COVID related restrictions ease, IDC forsees a greater level of normalcy for the industry will resume beyond mid-2022.

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