Our inaugural look at New Zealand’s mobile network experience reveals a fiercely competitive landscape. No operator was able to win one of our three experiential metrics outright and no operator was able to win more than two awards out of a possible seven. The operator that has come closest to dominating our awards table is Spark, by virtue of its two wins for Download Speed Experience and 4G Coverage Experience as well as three draws for Video Experience, Games Experience and Voice App Experience.
While the awards table was somewhat mixed, our users observed some stark differences in terms of download speeds — those on Spark saw a Download Speed Experience score of 40.4 Mbps, an impressive 6.5 Mbps above that seen on second-placed Vodafone. However, 2degrees beat both Spark and Vodafone on Upload Speed Experience, with its users observing an average speed of 9.9 Mbps, 0.9 Mbps higher than that seen by users on second-placed Spark.
At the international level, New Zealand has been performing strongly in terms of our experiential metrics — Video Experience, Games Experience and Voice App Experience. The country ranked 26th (Very Good), 27th (Good) and 14th (Good)for these, respectively, in our global reports on these measures of the mobile experience. Now that we’re looking at the operator level, it’s clear that New Zealanders’ Voice App Experience has been remarkably consistent in that all three operators provided them with a Good experience. This means that many users were satisfied, although some have experienced minor quality impairments such as clicking sounds or distortion.
Given that Vodafone has launched 5G and the ongoing work by all three operators’ joint venture, the Rural Connectivity Group (RCG), to bring connectivity to rural areas, it will be interesting to see how New Zealand’s mobile experience will evolve over the coming months, though it is likely that the speed of change will be hampered to some extent by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, judging by 2degrees’ announcement of its reduction in capital spend and deferral of non-essential projects, along with Vodafone’s decision to suspend work on its 5G roll-out and the news that the spectrum auction that Spark was relying on for its rollout of 5G mobile services has been put on hold indefinitely (the operator has already launched 5G fixed wireless access services).
In this report, we’ve analyzed the mobile network experience provided by New Zealand’s three national operators — Vodafone, Spark and 2degrees — at the national level in the 90 days starting January, 1, 2020.