New Zealand's copper landline network is in its final death knells as Vodafone begins retiring its plain old telephone system (POTS) network that operates on the public switched telephone network (PSTN).
The company says around 10,000 customers are still using its copper phone network, however, they will need to move to voice over fibre, wireless, UltraFast HFC, or copper broadband (VoIP) by 30 April next year.
These Vodafone customers are still using the old Spark phone network, which was previously managed through Spark's predecessor Telecom. However, customers who want to keep a phone service with Vodafone must now move to a broadband plan with a phone line. These options can vary based on customers' locations and services available.
According to Vodafone New Zealand experience and commercial director, Joe Goddard, Vodafone's plan is to simplify and improve its systems and withdraw ‘legacy analogue voice technology'.
“Technologies constantly get superseded by the new. People stopped using analogue TV when digital viewing came to the fore, and Kiwis no longer rely on classified ads to sell stuff now that Trade Me has made it heaps easier. So, to ensure customers get the most out of the new technology sooner, we're calling time on the POTS that uses the old PSTN,” explains Goddard.
“We're starting to send out letters to relevant customers from today and asking people to call our specialist team based here in Aotearoa, New Zealand to get them sorted and moved onto a newer phone service, as well as answer any questions.
He says Vodafone understands that change can be difficult, even though the new offerings will be better for customers, so the company is happy to take customers through the available options.
“We're asking customers to call us, even if it's to let us know they don't need their phone line any more,” he adds.
Spark is also well underway in its efforts to switch off its PSTN, which was originally built in the 1980s. Spark is also retiring its ADSL and VDSL internet plans because they rely on the same copper networks used for PSTN.
“As the PSTN is end of life and with parts no longer available, it won't continue to work in the future. We will work with you to move your services to a more modern, more resilient service that's future proofed,” the company states.
Other providers, such as Vodafone, 2degrees, Nova Energy, Contact, Compass, Skinny and others, still offer copper broadband services.