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Students Highlight Issues with Cellphone Market

Students Highlight Issues with Cellphone Market

„s„X Competition entries draw attention to problems and challenges for New Zealand cellphone market
„s„X Hutt Valley High School 16 year olds Sam Turner and David Bullock win secondary school section
„s„X Massey University, Master of Finance student Craig Getz wins tertiary prize

New Zealand compares poorly with other OECD countries when it comes to pricing and competition in the cellphone market. These are the findings of secondary and tertiary students around New Zealand, who were challenged to research the cellphone market as part of a competition run by Econet Wireless New Zealand (Econet).

Econet is looking to launch a third mobile network in New Zealand and ran the competition to encourage secondary and tertiary students to investigate a market that is dear to most young New Zealander ¡¦s hearts.

¡§Cellphone pricing hits young people as hard as it hits businesses and other telecommunications consumers in New Zealand, ¡¨ says Tex Edwards, Project Director, Econet. ¡§We were delighted with the quality of research carried out by the students, who took up the challenge and investigated a complex environment. The youth market is very lucrative for the incumbent cellphone network providers and it is important that people understand how they operate. ¡¨

16 year olds David Bullock and Sam Turner, who attend Hutt Valley High School, carried out a comparison of cellphone pricing and competition between New Zealand and OECD markets. They won $5000 and five cellphones for their efforts.

David and Sam say winning the competition is fantastic and taught them a few things about the cellphone market.

¡§We put a lot of effort into making this report, with many late nights of research, totalling over 60 hours of research each! We expected New Zealand to be performing badly on the world stage, but we had no idea to what extent. We were surprised to find that our research concluded that New Zealand was the worst performer, in terms of calling rates, in the OECD. We also found it interesting that overseas markets had a wider range of competition than what ¡¦s exhibited in New Zealand. ¡¨

Craig Getz, who recently completed a Bachelor of Accountancy and is now pursuing a Master of Finance at Massey University ¡¦s Albany Campus, investigated cellphone pricing, regulation, lobbying, competition law, and technology in New Zealand and the rest of the OECD. Craig won $7000 and a business-class trip to London, including five nights accommodation, a tour of a European telecommunications competition regulator and a visit to the OFCOM office in London.

¡§Participating in the competition was a most rewarding experience in terms of learning about the telecommunications challenges we face in New Zealand, ¡¨ says Craig. ¡§Even at the most basic level of comparison New Zealand consistently ranked as having the most expensive phone calls in the OECD. I saw the competition as a call to mobile users to get involved and become informed. ¡¨

An additional competition, open to the general public, is still running. Specific information, including entry details can be found at www.cellphonecomp.co.nz.

Ends

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