Con­tact joins busy broad­band market

The Southland Times - - BUSINESS - TOM PULLAR-STRECKER

Con­tact Energy has en­tered the broad­band market, selling cop­per-based and ul­tra­fast broad­band.

Like My Repub­lic, Vo­cus-owned Or­con and Stuff Fi­bre, it is only of­fer­ing plans with un­capped data, which it has priced from $89.99 a month.

The move by the coun­try’s third­largest power firm came with­out fan­fare.

Con­tact has en­tered the market de­spite a fore­cast by Spark man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Si­mon Mout­ter last month that the broad­band market was ripe for con­sol­i­da­tion.

The Com­merce Com­mis­sion es­ti­mated in its last an­nual mon­i­tor­ing re­port that Spark, Voda­fone and Vo­cus New Zealand sold about 89 per cent of fixed-line broad­band con­nec­tions be­tween them.

But Voda­fone con­sumer di­rec­tor Matt Wil­liams said last week that the market was ‘‘in­ten­sively com­pet­i­tive’’, with about 86 re­tail­ers bat­tling for busi­ness.

Con­tact Energy is of­fer­ing broad­band cus­tomers a free mo­dem with­out the re­quire­ment to en­ter into a fixed-term con­tract.

How­ever, at the mo­ment it is only selling broad­band to its ex­ist­ing elec­tric­ity cus­tomers.

Con­tact spokesman Ja­son Krupp said the strat­egy was to tar­get those cus­tomers who pre­ferred bun­dled ser­vices and the ‘‘con­ve­nience of deal­ing with one ser­vice provider’’.

Ri­val power firm Trust­power has built up a sig­nif­i­cant broad­band busi­ness, which it now treats as an ac­tiv­ity in its own right.

The Com­merce Com­mis­sion es­ti­mated in its last an­nual mon­i­tor­ing re­port that Trust­power had won 4 per cent of the broad­band market, putting it in fourth po­si­tion be­hind Vo­cus NZ, which has re­sponded by start­ing to selling elec­tric­ity and gas through the ac­qui­si­tion of power com­pany Switch Util­i­ties.

A com­mis­sion spokes­woman said the watch­dog was aware of com­ments made by Mout­ter at Spark’s an­nual meet­ing last month, dur­ing which Mout­ter ap­peared to sug­gest broad­band prices might need to rise.

The com­pe­ti­tion reg­u­la­tor in­di­cated the com­ments did not cross any lines.

‘‘New Zealand doesn’t have any leg­is­la­tion that ex­plic­itly pro­hibits price sig­nalling, sim­i­lar to that in Aus­tralia for the bank­ing sec­tor.’’

PHOTO: ROSS GIBLIN/STUFF

Con­tact Energy is selling broad­band as a ‘‘bun­dle’’ to ex­ist­ing power cus­tomers.

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