New Zealand’s Commerce Commission (ComCom) called for input on draft guidelines requiring operators to develop standardised coverage maps and include a monthly average price in their broadband and mobile advertising to make it easier for consumers to compare offers. 

Telecommunications Commissioner Tristan Gilbertson stated mobile coverage maps are inconsistent between operators and difficult for consumers to compare.

“Knowing what real-world coverage they can expect from different providers and technologies is important, especially with 5G rollout and competition heating up.”

He said when consumers face coverage problems, “they should be able to walk away from their service without penalty”.

Highlighting challenges in navigating various billing terms, discounts and promotions, Gilbertson said ComCom wants operators to cut “complexity by disclosing upfront how much consumers will pay each month for a particular deal”.

“Our work shows consumers find it easier to shop around when they know how much they’ll be paying on average each month, so disclosing this upfront will reduce uncertainty and enable more meaningful comparison and choice.”

The draft guidelines also propose disclosing the total minimum cost to consumers of an offer over the term of a contract as part of the sign-up process and standardising the approach to letting customers know about early termination fees.

ComCom is seeking views from industry and consumer groups.