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Government tells telecoms to hang up misleading marketing.

Updated: Nov 1, 2022

As the old copper line phone network and exchanges are decommissioned, the telecommunications industry has been instructed to clean up its marketing and sales techniques.

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The Commerce Commission has directed the industry to create a marketing code that will help consumers make smarter purchasing decisions.

The Telecommunications Forum has been given 60 days to convert the Commission's guidelines into a legally binding regulation.

Telecommunications Commissioner Tristan Gilbertson, on the other hand, has advised the businesses that he expects a shift in behaviour in the run-up to Christmas.

"We've heard from customers who say that marketing of alternatives to legacy copper-based services is sometimes insufficient, confusing, or deceptive."

He said, "Providers have also contacted us with concerns about the behaviour of their competitors."

The commission's recommendations, according to Gilbertson, were designed to give consumers plenty of notice when old services were ending so they could make educated decisions about new technologies and services and how they could perform.

Telcos must stop touting "up to" or theoretical maximum speeds for data transfers and instead use likely actual peak period speeds, according to the rules.

Fibre, hybrid fibre-coaxial cable, and wireless broadband are all alternatives to copper.

The revised code, according to the Tech Users Association, is a step in the right way.

Craig Young, the association's chief executive, said the rule and its swift voluntary implementation were required to put an end to questionable marketing methods.

"Copper migration is being exploited as a pretext to migrate unwitting consumers to favoured services without their express consent or the information they require to make an informed decision about their options."

"Telcos are notorious for using confusion to avoid competing on price, and the practise has a long history in New Zealand," Young said. "It is pleasing to see the commission outlining new requirements around understanding, and clarity of the service performance of alternatives to their current service," he added.

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Simplyfree is based in Wellington, New Zealand and provides smart business phone solutions such as Fibre, Broadband, Toll-Free, 0800 numbers, Unified Communications, Conference Calls, Call waiting, Call queuing, Voicemail to email, call recording, video team meetings and more!

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