Writings on technology and society from Wellington, New Zealand

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

NZ’s outrageous mobile phone pricing

There’s been a lot of complaining about the ongoing costs of the Apple iPhone 3G in New Zealand. The iPhone has a relatively low ‘headline’ price of $199, but only when attached to an expensive calling plan. People are expressing outrage at this.

Let’s get real. Ever since mobile services were launched in this country, networks have subsidised handsets (i.e. telephones) off the monthly line and calling charges. The iPhone is no different. Vodafone has made it clear what it costs to buy the handset without a plan (about $1,000 depending on model) which is up there, but nothing out of the ordinary for a high-end phone.

Staying real, let’s look at the issue facing New Zealanders wanting to make mobile calls. It’s got nothing to do with the cost for the latest bit of shiny kit. It’s got everything to do with the cost of mobile calling in this country. We pay over half as much again as the OECD average. That’s got to be due to the effective monopoly that Telecom and Vodafone have enjoyed until now.

Perhaps the iPhone plan costs announced after the marketing hype while serve as a way of highlighting our expensive calling charges. But it’s those calling charges that are the problem, not the handset cost.

This is supposed to change. Telecom are to launch a network that will compete directly with Voda’s 3G network – you should be able to buy a handset for one network and take it to the other network. And the third market entrant, New Zealand Communications, is *still* waiting in the wings. Please, guys, get on with it!

Adam Gifford has a good take on this over on the Herald.

posted by colin at 7:19 am  


  1. Not exactly. Vodafone has not offered subsidies to their devices in the last few years.

    Comment by M Freitas — 23 July 2008 @ 9:51 am

  2. That’s until now…

    Comment by M Freitas — 23 July 2008 @ 9:52 am

  3. My point. It’s hardly unprecedented.

    Comment by colin — 23 July 2008 @ 9:10 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress