Following on from today’s release from the Commerce Commission relating to extending regulatory protection for phone number portability, the team at NZ Compare wanted to highlight how number portability remains a massive point of confusion for Kiwis when it comes to getting the best deal for their mobile or landline telephone.
Recent research conducted by independent research agency The Interpreters around Kiwi attitudes to their mobile provider highlighted a range of concerns, including number portability. With a mobile phone being something the majority of the population rely on, it was striking that only a third of Kiwis (33%) were able to state with confidence they are on the right mobile plan, and a similar percentage (35%) felt their current plan was good value for money. When it came to knowledge around number portability, confusion was one of the overriding reactions.
Commenting on the research and today’s release from the Commerce Commission, Gavin Male, CEO of NZ Compare said, "Our research showed that 40% of Kiwis were staying with their current mobile plan provider because they wanted to keep their current phone number. This was a larger percentage than those staying because the provider offered a great price. We feel this really highlights the misunderstanding and lack of awareness about how easy it is to port your number to a new provider."
Deep diving into the data also revealed some alarming statistics around how age impacted the likelihood to change plan or provider. Male continued, "The likelihood of changing provider decreases significantly with age, meaning many of our valued older Kiwis are likely overpaying heavily for their mobile phone plan each month and this could be because they don’t know they can switch provider and keep the same number."
With growing interest and usage of comparison websites across other utilities like broadband and power, there is an increasing need for comparison websites and tools to better arm and inform Kiwis when it comes to their relationship with their mobile phone provider. The research identified that while there was general inertia and disengagement for Kiwis with the detail of their mobile phone provider, 84% of us would use a mobile plan and price comparison website if available.
Gavin Male, CEO of NZ Compare, said "we’re not surprised by the results but wanted an independent assessment, as while we’ve seen Kiwis adopt price comparison websites across other categories, mobile hasn’t yet been possible due to a lack of data from providers. But, as we see in this research, a lack of awareness and general apathy to a category has impacted the typical Kiwi mobile phone owner. Price and coverage are the two most important factors when it comes to deciding their plan but there’s a general sense it’s all the same, or too painful to attempt to change plans or providers and that’s why Kiwis are somewhat reluctantly staying with their providers".
The research was conducted in June 2021 and we interviewed a representative sample of n=622 Kiwis aged 18+ who make decisions when it comes to their plan and provider.