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Econet Welcomes Commerce Commission Report

10 October 2006

Econet Welcomes Commerce Commission Report

Econet Wireless New Zealand (EWNZ) is encouraged by the Commerce Commission’s mobile market report. The report confirms a number of significant barriers to competition in mobile and the Commission will, as a result, launch a formal investigation.

“It is a turning point in the New Zealand mobile phone industry and another important competition policy milestone in the New Zealand telecommunications industry,” said Tex Edwards, Econet’s Chief Project Director.

“Complexity and confusion has been Vodafone’s and Telecom’s main line of defence and the Commission must be congratulated for exercising its specialist knowledge to get to grips with key obstacles to competition and moving New Zealand toward an OECD model,” said Edwards.

The report once again confirms that competition in the New Zealand mobile market is limited. It highlights the New Zealand anomaly in having only one GSM network (i.e. Vodafone) and only two mobile network operators, where most OECD countries have three, four or even more. Importantly, it also pin points the key obstacles to competition – inadequate access rules for co-location and roaming along with Vodafone’s monopoly ownership of 900 spectrum.

“The report will help attract more investment into New Zealand and help break Vodafone’s GSM monopoly. As per the logic behind unbundling, there is desperate need for someone other than Telecom or Vodafone to invest and provide competition in mobile.

“At times I may have sounded like a broken record, but that has been the price of perseverance. Six years ago I thought it would take six weeks to initiate mobile phone competition in New Zealand. We were wrong on timing but right about the issues. Both the Econet and Hautaki teams were determined to persevere with this great opportunity to develop the spectrum. The challenge for our organization now is to speed up our building plans.

“The report reflects well on the Government’s focus on creating competition in business, rather than deferring to monopolies. Infrastructure investment and OECD realignment take time. But the Commerce Commission report is a solid piece of work and a good result for New Zealand consumers,” concluded Edwards.
.
Tex Edwards, Chief Project Director of EWNZ.

ENDS

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