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Saturday 8 April 2023 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in National, Technology


Vodafone increases landline rentals
A Vodafone Cook Islands agent at its booth in Rarotonga. Vodafone Cook Islands has confirmed it had increased its monthly landline rentals by $7 across residential and business plans. VODAFONE/23040716

Vodafone Cook Islands is raising their business landline costs significantly this month, in an effort to pay for fibre network upgrades, and absorb rising costs.

Vodafone Cook Islands commercial manager Lahaina Kiely confirmed it had increased its monthly landline rentals by $7 across residential and business plans. 

“We have not had a price increase for over 25 years and with the increasing costs that come with keeping our customers connected and investing into network and equipment improvements, we’ve had to make the difficult call. We know a price increase is never welcome and we have tried to hold off on it for as long as possible,” Kiely said. 

“It’s been one month since we introduced the price increase and our customers have expressed that they have appreciated the advance notice given and that we have absorbed the increases in costs for so long that an increase would be inevitable as is currently being experienced with global price increases everywhere else.”

A Rarotonga businessman, who did not wished to be named, told Cook Islands News that Vodafone was “trying to penalise businesses to make up for the loss in revenue, like everyone is experiencing”.

“They are not providing any improved services, but probably trying to cover costs of the new fibre they are installing and making the poor businesses pay for it without even connecting them,” he said.

Competition and Regulatory Authority chairman Bernard Hill said the company had not approached the authority about the changes to landline pricing, nor did they need to.

“I suspect they will justify this because of increasing costs to business, and they’re well within their rights to do so,” Hill said.

“We know that they’ve had a lot more repairs on the copper wire DSL cable of late, which is a consequence of it being ageing legacy infrastructure. They’re phasing it out for the fibreoptic broadband network.”

Meanwhile, the anonymous businessman said not one person he had spoken to has agreed or accepted the increase.

“The people have no choice as we are handcuffed to Vodafone,” he said.

Vodafone Cook Islands did not say how much extra revenue it would generate as a result of increasing the landline costs.

However, the businessman said: “This is another good reason we need competition. There is no justification for an increase on business line rental, because the quality of service has not increased accordingly. I think most people will agree it has got worse.”

“It would seem it is just another way for them to profit off us, their customers, or at least cover their recent roadside work cost of laying fibre to keep up with the competition coming, but charging us for it now and then again when you want to connect to it.”