Commission recommends deregulating Spark’s resale copper voice services

The Commerce Commission has today released a draft report indicating its intention to recommend that Spark’s resale copper voice services be deregulated.

“As fibre and other next generation services have become available across New Zealand, consumers are making the switch away from legacy copper-based voice services. Other providers offer wholesale voice services that compete with these services meaning regulation is no longer necessary,” Telecommunications Commissioner Dr Stephen Gale said.

In 2016 the Commission completed an investigation into deregulating Spark’s three resale voice services. The Commission’s recommendation to the Minister of Communications was to not deregulate and to defer the decision for two years. At the time, it was concerned whether competitive alternatives to Spark’s resale services were available and that retailers’ ability to switch to these alternatives was constrained.

“Over two years have passed since our 2016 investigation. We have revisited our recommendation using updated information and our draft view after our analysis is that we now consider regulation is no longer required to help promote competition. We consider that competition has been established, is increasingly effective, and is no longer dependent on access to these services.,” Dr Gale said.

Submissions on our draft report close on Monday 17 May 2019.

The Commission expects to provide its final report and recommendation to the Minister in July 2019.

The draft report and related information can be found here.


Spark’s resale voice services enable other retail service providers to rebrand and on-sell Spark’s copper fixed line phone services, avoiding the need to deploy their own infrastructure.

The Commission can specify and enforce terms for any regulated wholesale services listed in Schedule 1 of the Telecommunications Act, and regularly reviews these services. As markets evolve, new retail services are developed and wholesale service providers can face increased competition, it may be preferable to deregulate a service through removing it from Schedule 1.

This draft report outlines amendments the Commission wishes to make to recommendations to the Minister from its 2016 final report. It continues from the Commission’s 2016 review of the Schedule 1 services about whether there were reasonable grounds for commencing an investigation into omitting Spark resale voice services from the Schedule 1. In that review, the Commission concluded that there were reasonable grounds for commencing an investigation.

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