THE KIWI ROUNDUP: THE WEEK’S TELCO HAPPENINGS IN NZ

Soaring broadband consumption, a Vodafone sale, Spark’s Cisco deal and Vocus shuts down an automated phone scam… We take a look at some of this week’s key news in the New Zealand market.

Vocus shuts down automated phone scam

A phone scam, where callers received an automated message claiming to be from police and threatening the recipient with arrest if they don’t pay money to Inland Revenue was shut down by Vocus Group, according to New Zealand Police.

More than 2,400 calls were made to New Zealand phones before Vocus detected the campaign and was able to stop it, police said. Police received numerous complaints about the scam.

Vocus Group CTO Adrian Dick said the telecommunications company uses sophisticated scam monitoring tools, and was able to block the number being used for the scam calls and then alert other telcos and the Police High Tech Crime Group.

Detective Sergeant Damain Rapira-Davies warned that people need to look after their personal details in the same way they would a wallet or personal possessions.

Kiwi broadband demand sees usage double in two years – 680GB/month forecast for 2020

Broadband use in New Zealand has soared from an average of 101GB per household in April 2016 to a whopping 204GB in April 2018, according to new figures from Chorus.

Chorus is forecasting average monthly data per household of 680GB come 2020.

Kurt Rodgers, Chorus network strategy manager, said in 2011 the average use in households was just 13GB.

“In the space of a few years, the demand has gone through the roof,” he said. “And there’s no sign of the demand slowing. Our view is that ever-increasing data demands and the evolution of new data-hungry devices and applications, such as 4K televisions and virtual reality, will only continue to fuel the demand for bandwidth.

April’s figures cover the Commonwealth Games, which were streamed by national broadcaster TVNZ, and school holiday period.

Vodafone ups rural broadband push

Vodafone has snapped up telecommunications service provider Team Talk’s remaining 30% stake in rural broadband provider Farmside.

Vodafone New Zealand acquired 70% of Farmside in June 2017 for $10 million in cash in a deal that included options to enable Team Talk to sell its remaining stake to Vodafone for $3 million cash at any time over the following three years.

Vodafone New Zealand chief executive Russell Stanners said the deal deepens the telco’s commitment to rural communities.

“With Farmside now firmly part of the Vodafone whānau [family], we can continue to deliver better outcomes for these communities and increase our presence in the rural broadband market,” Stanners said.

No immediate major changes are expected in the operation of Farmside, which will continue to be based in Timaru providing all its current services.

The change of ownership takes effect at midnight May 31, 2018.

Spark NZ adds to UC offerings

Spark New Zealand is adding BroadSoft’s cloud-based unified communications offerings to its lineup.

The new deal will see Spark offering a suite of UC services, including instant message and presence, hosted voice, mobile client support, a full-featured soft client for computing devices, desktop and file sharing, virtual meeting rooms and voice and video conferencing, based on BroadSoft’s UC-One application.

Broadsoft is now part of Cisco. The new service, which will hit the market ‘in the first half of this year’, will be branded Spark Cloud Phone.

Sally Gordon, Spark head of business marketing, said business customers have been asking for a feature-rich calling solution to help improve collaboration, and which can easily scale as business needs change.

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