NZ Fry Up: 5G phones set to dominate NZ market; Tackling telco complaints; Scam bunny due this Easter

New Zealand IT, tech, and telco news and views from our editor in Auckland.

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5G phones set to dominate NZ market

5G-capable smartphones will account for over half (50% to 55%) of all smartphone shipments in New Zealand this year, according to IDC. This follows a rise in the appeal of 5G-capable devices towards the end of last year, boosted by Apple releasing the iPhone12, which was eagerly snapped up by Kiwis. In Q4 2020, Apple accounted for more than 200,000 units—or 43%—of smartphone shipments, compared to Samsung, which accounted for 168,000, or just over a third of the market.

Maxim Wilson , IDC’s associate market analyst for NZ mobile devices, expects the trend to continue as 5G-capable devices are deployed across a range of prices. While the iPhone 12 ensured that the $1,500-plus segment was the biggest category late last year, IDC is predicting the mid-range $300-$600 bracket will take the top spot in 2021, “based on the affordability of models with specs not too dissimilar to the premium brackets”.

While Apple and Samsung slug it out at the top end of the market, Vodafone “remains a dynamic player” in the sub-$200 category, especially now that US sanctions have hampered Huawei’s ability to offer Google services. The challenger brand is Oppo, which has brought in 45,000 units, while other brands such as OnePlus, Xiaomi, and Vivo are fighting to establish a greater presence here.

Meanwhile, Kiwis in the market for a new phone should probably plan ahead, given current supply chain issues both here and abroad. The global issues are compounded by the fact that “neither Apple nor Samsung tend to prioritise shipments into the Pacific region”, Wilson says.

Commission moves on tackling telco complaints

A review of the Telecommunications Disputes Resolution Scheme (TDRS) had kicked off, with the Commerce Commission this week outlining the timetable for its first official review of the scheme.

The TDRS was set up in 2007 by the NZ Telecommunications Forum as a way of providing independent resolution to consumer disputes; it is run by Fairway Commercial Services. The commission’s review is enabled by Part 7 of the Telecommunications Act, which is about improving retail service quality.

The commission noted in a letter to the industry last year that there had been an increase in complaints to the TDRS, but even more pressing may be that consumers don’t know how to get their concerns addressed, as Telecommunication Commissioner Tristan Gilbertson told Computerworld New Zealand last year:

[blockquote]We already know that dispute resolution is a pain point. One of the problems is if you are a consumer and have an issue with your provider and you are not able to sort that out with your provider, what do you do? Nobody knows what they are supposed to do. People can, and do, go in all sorts of directions. Some people get on the phone and call the commission, or they write to us. Some people write to the minister’s office. Some people go to Telecommunications Disputes Resolution service. Some people trot up the road to the Citizens Advice Bureau. It’s very fragmented, and so what we do about that is an important part of the equation.[/blockquote]

The most recent TDRS report, published in December 2020, noted that in the first six months of 2020 “1,234 Kiwis had their matter resolved or closed with some assistance from the TDR.”

Scam bunny due this Easter

If you get approached by someone offering to fix your phone or internet connection this Easter, be very sceptical. You might be being scammed. That’s according to Netsafe, which has released its top 10 tips to scam spotting this Easter. Alongside the usual warnings about not giving access to passwords or verifying bogus account details via emails and texts is the warning against sham device-fixers.

Netsafe CEO Martin Cocker says that Easter is the most dangerous time of the year in terms of scammer activity. “During Easter, many people connect online with whānau and hoa and share special memories on social media. However, when Netsafe examined data spanning the previous four Easter periods, we identified reports of online incidents had gone up 360%, and they are mostly related to scams.”

Last week CERT NZ noted in its annual summary for 2020, that scams and frauds accounted for 1,910 reports, up 11% on the previous year, making them the second most common form of cybercrime reported to the agency. They were also the costliest, accounting for $12 million, or 69% of overall financial loss recorded by CERT NZ last year.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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