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The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in New Zealand crossed 1,150 as of 19th May 2020. The country has taken stringent measures, including a one-month national lockdown, which started on 25th March 2020, to curb the pandemic. The telecommunications service providers in New Zealand are effectively tackling the situation and providing maximum support to their customers both in terms of network coverage and financial assistance, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

New Zealand recognized telecommunication services as an essential service during the lockdown. Telecommunication service providers operated non-contact retail stores to offer services to their customers. Non-contact retail store services include the handset, modem and SIM replacement. 

Sree Venkatesh, senior analyst in telecoms market data & intelligence at GlobalData, says: “COVID-19 has a massive impact on the economy of countries across the world. Governments have introduced economic packages to support their citizens and businesses during this outbreak. The telecommunications service providers are playing their part to support the customers and taking effective measures to sustain the economic downfall.”  

To ensure connectivity and reliable services, operators are working on strengthening their network infrastructure during this pandemic. For example, in May 2020, Vodafone announced the launch of new 4G cell sites in Tasman and Southland districts to boost connectivity in rural areas of New Zealand.

Operators are continuing to witness a significant rise in mobile data traffic and voice call from March 2020. Major operators in the country Vodafone and Spark have reported a spike in the data consumption during the lockdown period. However, international roaming has reduced significantly due to restrictions on international travel.

On the financial front, the operators are set to experience an impact on revenues due to the economic slowdown. As per the COVID-19 economic dashboard released on 17th April 2020 by the government, economic activity has majorly declined during the lockdown. In its press release released on 14th April 2020, 2degrees announced that it is already facing revenue impact due to COVID-19. In addition, to support customers during COVID-19 pandemic, 2degrees is not charging any late payment fees.

Venkatesh concludes, “The lockdown in New Zealand has significantly increased the demand for telecommunication services. An increase in mobile data consumption is expected to continue in the coming weeks with new unlimited mobile data packs. However, due to the economic slowdown, lockdown restrictions, and low-cost data packs, revenues of operators are expected to decline in the first half of 2020.”