Tuesday, 30 August 2016 01:04

NZ data allowance demands spark new broadband plan offers


New Zealand’s largest telco, Spark, has responded to the growing appetite for bigger and bigger data allowances with new offerings to the majority of its home, and many of its business broadband customers, of up to 50% more data on their plans.

The new data allowances, announced on Monday, allow for the majority of home customers on a 40GB plan to receive a data increase to 60GB, and those on an 80GB plan to get an increase to 120GB, across ADSL, VDSL, fibre and wireless broadband.

Spark is also giving business customers on 30GB bundles a data increase to 50GB and those on 80GB plans will get an increase to 120GB, across ADSL, VDSL and wireless broadband.

According to Jason Paris, chief executive of Spark Home Mobile and Business, customers are using more data in their daily lives.

“Average data usage on Spark’s broadband networks grew by 37% in 2014 and by 67% in 2015,” Paris says.

“From streaming their favourite shows, to video calling their families, there’s a clear trend for increased data usage across the board. We’re therefore changing our plans to include data allowances that reflect their changing needs at a competitive price.”

Paris says that with the growing number of Internet access options — ADSL and VDSL over copper, fibre and wireless broadband customers have been telling Spark that the range of broadband plans has become harder to understand.

“Spark has simplified pricing and data allowances across our broadband plans. This means that the cost of our Home fibre and Home and Business urban wireless broadband plans is now aligned to the cost of our Home and Business copper plans – and that customers can easily compare and select the best broadband connection available to them at their place,” Paris says.

According to Paris, around 85% of Spark Home customers and over 99% of Spark Business customers will either receive additional data at no extra cost – or won’t be affected by these changes.

“However, Spark is introducing price increases for a small proportion of broadband customers,” he explains.

“As more customers use more data and more customers move to unlimited plans the cost to provide broadband services has increased. First, the wholesale charges that ISPs like Spark pay lines companies on connections is increasing annually. Second, Spark has been investing in increased local and international data capacity.

“Plan simplification and future proofing of our costs mean that Spark will be raising prices on some of our Home fibre and wireless broadband plans by $5 per month – and on some of our Business wireless broadband bundles by $3 per month. However, we won’t pass these costs on to Home customers until September 2017 and Business customers until September 2018; although they will see the new price on their bill, they will also see a credit covering the increased price.

“This will only impact a small minority of Spark’s broadband customers – and half of these impacted customers will also receive a data increase.”

By postponing the cost to existing customers for at least 12 months, the changes come into effect from 6 September for any new customers.

"However, to help existing customers transition to new prices, Spark will cover this cost until September 2017 for Home customers and September 2018 for Business customers, no matter when they started their contract,” Paris says, explaining that all customers who are on a plan with a price increase will receive a credit on their bill for the same amount, “so they won’t feel the additional cost”.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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