This week in Kiwi telcos

Published on the 20/04/2018 | Written by Jonathan Cotton


NZ Telecoms

Sporty Spark also extends into infosec-as-a-service and ComCom lays charges against Vodafone - it's just another week in telco 2.0...

Spark’s purchase of the broadcast rights to the 2019 World Cup rugby coverage in partnership with TVNZ has grabbed headlines this week. While the move had been predicted after Sky confirmed it was no longer in the running, it represents another dune moved in the shifting sands of the media and telco landscape.

Credit to Spark, they have been leading the way with their Lightbox and Spotify bundles delivering real value back to their higher value subscribers, something which Sky could learn a thing or two from.

The product extensions are being pushed to enterprise clients too, with Spark Digital announcing a new line of business in managed security services.

It’s diversification, baby.

The infosec-as-a-service announcement was an interesting play.

While what’s being offered is not much more than would be expected from any hosting provider straight out of the box, it signals telcos beginning to explore cybersecurity services in addition to regular duties. Having weathered the multiple breaches of the Yahoo Xtra email service (granted, back in 2014 Telecom days) you’d hope that Spark would well and truly have its security chops up to snuff.

According to the press release patter, the company now offers a suite of “high-grade managed security services to businesses.”

Services will include internet security, application publishing, managed firewall, secure messaging and remote access. Spark is also offering security management services, which includes security incident and event management and incident response as a service.

“Cyber threat is a top concern for Kiwi enterprises, expanding our offering provides businesses with the best possible defence in depth model,” says Head of Spark Security, Josh Bahlman, adding that there is a demand in the New Zealand market for a security offering “just like the one we originally built for Government agencies under TaaS.”

“With over 100 security professionals whose focus is 100 percent security, a strong investment in new security technologies, and the only commercial New Zealand member of FIRST (Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams), Spark can provide extensive access to global threat intelligence sources and provide businesses with high quality protection,” says Bahlman.

And, no doubt, also provide Bahlman a line of business to justify the salaries demanded by said security boffins.

Meanwhile there’s signs of desperation from Vodafone as they struggle to pick winners.

The Voda-Sky JV-come-co-marketing arrangement will have lost some of its shine with the RWC announcement, alongside and continued ‘stream it or die’ demand from viewers.

The Vodafone marketeers are also under fire from ComCom for another raft of breaches.

Don’t believe everything you read, is the message from the Commerce Commission who announced last week that it had laid 27 charges under the Fair Trading Act against Vodafone NZ.

The Commission alleges that Vodafone engaged in false and misleading conduct in relation to its FibreX broadband service.

The Commission alleges that by naming its broadband service ‘FibreX’, along with its advertising of FibreX on billboards, radio, in-store, online and in direct-marketing, Vodafone misled consumers into thinking that FibreX was a full fibre-optic broadband service, comparable with those services delivered over the Government-subsidised Ultra-Fast Broadband network. It is not.

The Commission also alleges that Vodafone’s website misled consumers about the options of broadband services (including full fibre-optic broadband) available at their addresses.

The matter will be called in the Auckland District Court on 22 May 2018.

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